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Astronomers confirm exoplanet image
Posted: Sun, May 1, 2005, 11:54 AM ET (1554 GMT)
Hubble image of exoplanet around 2M1207 (NASA) European astronomers confirmed Saturday that a image of a faint object next to a brown dwarf is indeed an extrasolar planet, making it the first direct image of a planet around another star. Astronomers using the Very Large Telescope in Chile took images of the suspected exoplanet and its parent star earlier this year and compared them to images taken last year. They found that the relative separation between the two objects had not changed, which implied that the fainter object is gravitationally bound to the brown dwarf and orbits it. Other observations had led astronomers to conclude that the object is about five times as massive as Jupiter, making it a planet rather than a more massive brown dwarf like its parent star. The announcement comes a month after another team of astronomers claimed the discovery of the first exoplanet image around another star.
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