The very first direct observation of more than one planet orbiting a star similar to the Sun was carried out thanks to the instruments of the Very Large Telescope (TGT) of the European Southern Observatory installed at an altitude of 2635 m in the desert from Atacama, Chile.
The instruments of this telescope make it possible to study the sky in wavelengths ranging from the visible to the infrared.
At first glance, the image may not be spectacular at all, but it is nonetheless historic. We can see two giant exoplanets orbiting a young solar-type star only 17 million years old located in the Fly, a small constellation far south of the celestial vault.
The planetary duo appears as bright dots. One is located in the center of the image, and the other is in the lower right corner.
The image was obtained using the coronograph installed on the TGT. This instrument makes it possible to block the light coming from the star located in the upper left corner of the photo.
The rings that cover the surface of the star known as TYC 8998-760-1 are optical artefacts. It is thanks to the acquisition of several images at different times that scientists have succeeded in differentiating these planets from the stars in the background of the sky.
This planetary system is located some 300 light-years from Earth. The star TYC 8998-760-1 is sort of a very young version of our own Sun, said Alexander Bohn, of Leiden University in the Netherlands, lead author of the study in The Astrophysical Journal in a statement. Letters