Using the combined power of an array of telescopes from different locations across the globe, ESO astronomers managed to capture the first clear image of an exoplanet located in a star system 11 quadrillion kilometers away from Earth.
Astronomers’ pursuit in finding exoplanets (new planets orbiting other stars) is realized with various methods. One method is direct imaging, which has proved to be successful so far, being effective especially for planets on wide orbits around young stars, because the light reflected from the planet is not eclipsed by light reflected from the host star, making it easier to spot the needle in the haystack.
The captured image confirms the efficiency of this technique, showing a T-Tauri star named CVSO 30, situated about 1200 light-years away from Earth, northwest of Orions Belt, in the 25 Orionis cluster.
CSVO 30 is believed to host one exoplanet called CVSO 30b, as of its discovery in 2012, by the means of transit photometry, a detection method which seeks the light from a star visibly dipping plummeting as a planet heads in front of it.
For the moment, astronomers observe the system with a number of telescopes, combining every piece of information acquired with ESO’s VLT (Very Large Telescope) in Chile, with the data collected from the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, and finally with data gathered from the Calar Alto Observatory facilities in Spain.
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