Astronomers have discovered many exoplanets in vast space, but no exoplanet has been directly imaged, usually by indirectly observing the effects of planets on their host stars to confirm the existence of exoplanets. Astronomers recently shared for the first time images of an exoplanet discovered by direct means, named Beta Pictoris c, Chinese, which astronomers have combined to discover and image the planet.
Beta Pictoris c is a gas giant called Beta Pictoris, a young star with a life span of about 23 million years.
The young exoplanet was discovered in 2008 by the Very Large Telescope and THEO instrument, and the astronomical observation team then used the High Contrast Instrument (SPHERE) to continue tracking the exoplanet, a method known as direct imaging, which can be used to look for exoplanets by taking direct pictures of the planets.
It can be judged that its young age is because, together with its exoplanets, it is still surrounded by a large amount of dust debris. In the universe, the two exoplanets orbiting the star are babies, about 18.5 million years old. Beta Pictoris c is the second of the two planets, originally discovered using radial velocity.
Beta Pictoris c is a gaseous giant planet believed to be 13 times the mass of Jupiter. The researchers point out that there are very few exoplanets that can be imaged directly using existing technology, and one of the challenges of images of distant planets is that they must be far enough away from the stars to disappear into bright light. The researchers also say it would be helpful if exoplanets were young and warm enough to produce heat radiation.
The direct image of Beta Pictoris c reveals an interesting thing: its surprisingly weak. Although the two planets are similar in size, the researchers say, they are six times darker than their brother stars, and the degree of darkness suggests they are much colder than their brother stars.