Thursday, January 29, 2009

So near, so far

Most Accurate Exoplanet Image Yet





The planet in question is HD 80606b, which circles a star about 200 light years from Earth. This is a highly interesting place, some four times the mass of Jupiter and moving within a 111-day orbit around its star. What makes it stand out is the incredible eccentricity of its orbit. We're talking about a world that for most of its orbit is at distances that would be between Venus and Earth here in our system. But then it swoops in ever closer to its primary until it closes to within 0.03 AU, an encounter it experiences for less than a day.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

"It’s not an actual photographic image, of course, but it’s better than an artist’s interpretation because it’s based on highly realistic simulations."

Oh, it's not actual photo--it's a CGI simulation. Thought it looked a bit too artificial.

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