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First Direct Photo of Exoplanet Confirmed 189

An anonymous reader noted a report confirming the first ever exoplanet actually photographed from telescopes on earth. Every other exoplanet so far 'observed' has been done by measuring wobbles of stars pulled by planetary gravity. But this one is a photograph. And that's just plain cool.
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First Direct Photo of Exoplanet Confirmed

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  • by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @09:00AM (#32743076) Homepage

    Damn, I love living in the future.

  • by djsmiley ( 752149 ) <> on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @09:02AM (#32743112) Homepage Journal

    Wait a second.

    I can see venus at night - I can take a photo my with my camera.

    Is there some weird definition of "Alien" that I dont know of?

  • by mbone ( 558574 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @09:03AM (#32743120)

    The key word in the title is "confirmed." Readers may remember that there were 2 separate sets of planets photographed in papers published in 2008. Now, we are sure (not that there was much doubt) that one of them is truly orbiting its primary star.

  • Adaptic optics FTW (Score:4, Insightful)

    by OneAhead ( 1495535 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @09:06AM (#32743156)

    I see this as a big triumph of adaptic optics. This picture was not made by a space telescope, but by an earth-based one!

  • by TheKidWho ( 705796 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @09:29AM (#32743404)

    It's only impractical now while our world is developing.

    Who knows how long people will live for in the future? If we could all live to say 500 years old, then space travel would be much easier on us.

  • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @09:29AM (#32743410)

    IIRC, Hubble's mirror, despite not having to deal with atmospheric conditions, is much smaller than that of many terrestrial observatories. As such if you can apply adaptive optics techniques, you still have more usable light on the ground based telescopes.

    I personally just say we take the best of both worlds - I want a lunar based observatory with a 25 meter aperture. No need for adaptive optics, and FAR more light gathering capability than our current telescopes. We'll figure out how to pay for it later :) (sadly, I'm sure for the price of the Iraq war we COULD have such a piece of hardware).

  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @09:33AM (#32743446) Homepage

    Well, if you want to get technically correct - the best kind of correct - then the title should be "First Confirmation of Direct Photo of Alien Planet", not "First Direct Photo of Alien Planet Finally Confirmed", since it most certainly is not the first direct photograph of an alien planet.

    We photographed many, many alien planets before this one: every time anyone pointed a camera at the sky, in fact. We've just not spotted any planets in those other images (yet).

  • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @09:47AM (#32743650)
    I vote we use the cast of "Jersey Shore," and not give them spacesuits.
  • by io333 ( 574963 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @10:13AM (#32743972)

    I've been wondering for twenty years at least: how big a telescope do we need to build, in space, or on the dark side of the moon, or even on earth, to see cities on an earthlike planet somewhere out there?

    And why are we not building one instead of wasting all the money on welfare, manned space exploration of a our mostly dead solar system, and more missiles so we can blow this place earth up even more times than we already can (I think we destroy the earth up to 6 times now?)

    The main problem with our space program is that for 100 years we've been stuck with the rocket equation and 2% at best payloads. Ion engines give a little more hope for an interstellar probe someday...

    If we found some more living earths out there, maybe our best and brightest might expend their brainpower on coming up with a better engine for space travel, rather than investment banking and law.

    So how big a telescope do we need? Let's start building it!

  • Re:Why bother (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @12:11PM (#32746100) Homepage

    When I went to click on this link, I told myself "This better not just be another glowing dot". As usual, I was severely disappointed.

    Sorry, but expect to be disappointed for a very, very long time.

    This is where potential space travel funding is going?

    No? It's where telescope funding is going.

    Very sad.

    Yeah, it's very sad to learn more about the universe, to be able to study other solar systems besides our own, to discover what kinds there are and how they form.

    That's sad... in opposite world. Or lack-of-inquisitiveness world, aka boring world.

  • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @12:52PM (#32746778) Homepage
    No different than with most people I know who travel anywhere. Most people I know who go on regular vacations to other countries end up going to the Caribbean twice a year, and sitting on a beach. There are so many more interesting places to see in the world. Go to Europe, Japan, Africa. Visit the cities, see the people, visit the villages too. Maybe it costs more. Maybe you can only make a trip every 5 years because of the cost. But you will have a much richer experience. If all you want to do is sit on a beach and drink, you might as well just sit on your couch at home. At least you won't get skin cancer.
  • by Beardo the Bearded ( 321478 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @01:10PM (#32747080)


    Octopus are intelligent; they figure that they have the rough brain capacity of a four-year-old. They are alien; they live underwater, they are cephalopods, and they do not use audio communication. They are novel; I dive, and all the divers I know love to find octos.

    They are closer to us than any alien could possibly be, but we can't communicate with them at all. I find it unlikely at best that we could have any communication whatsoever with a species from another solar system.

    Most people on this planet never stick their heads under the water at all.

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain