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Astronomers claim to take picture of exoplanet
Posted: Tue, Apr 5, 2005, 8:49 AM ET (1249 GMT)
GQ Lupi and exoplanet (ESO) Astronomers have taken what they believe is the first image of an extrasolar planet, although the object in question could be a more massive body. The discovery, first reported Friday by SPACE.com based on a paper submitted to the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, came using the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope. The image shows a small object adjacent to the young star GQ Lupi. and observations confirmed that the object is gravitationally bound to the star. The exoplanet is estimated to be three times as far from the Sun as Neptune but has a temperature of about 2,000 kelvins because of its young age. While the European astronomers who discovered the exoplanet believe its mass is no more than about twice that of Jupiter, others note that uncertainties in mass estimates could mean the object could be many times more massive, making it a brown dwarf rather than a planet.
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