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First direct photograph of an exoplanet outside of our solar system is obtained by NASA.

New York, Sep 2 (IANS) Astronomers have captured the first direct image of a planet outside of our solar system using NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. The exoplanet known as “HIP 65426 b” is a gas giant, which means it lacks a rocky surface and cannot support life.

These findings may assist to further reduce the exoplanet’s mass, which is currently estimated to be six to twelve times that of Jupiter.

In contrast to our 4.5 billion-year-old Earth, it is youthful, being just 15 to 20 million years old.

Sasha Hinkley, Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Exeter in the UK, described this as a “transformative moment,” not just for Webb but for astronomy in general.

The image, which shows how Webb’s potent infrared gaze can easily capture worlds outside of our solar system as seen through four different light filters, points the way to future observations that will reveal more information about exoplanets than has ever been known, the space agency said in a statement.

In several infrared light bands, the exoplanet “HIP 65426 b” is seen in this photograph. Each device has a set of masks called a coronagraph that filters out the light from the host star so that the planet may be seen.

Short infrared light waves were used to capture photographs of the planet that were taken in 2017 by astronomers using the SPHERE instrument on the Very Large Telescope of the European Southern Observatory in Chile.

The intrinsic infrared glow of Earth’s atmosphere prevents ground-based telescopes from picking up additional details, which Webb’s perspective at longer infrared wavelengths reveals.

‘HIP 65426 b’ is sufficiently enough from its host star for Webb to be able to distinguish the planet from the star in the image since it is 100 times further away from its host star than Earth is from the Sun.

The efficiency with which the Webb coronagraphs suppressed the host star’s light was “very astounding,” according to Hinkley.

Because stars are so much brighter than planets, it is difficult to take direct photographs of exoplanets.

In the mid-infrared and near-infrared spectrums, the planet “HIP 65426 b” is just a few thousand times fainter than its host star.

According to Aarynn Carter, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Santa Cruz, “getting this image was like mining for interstellar gold.” The most detailed and precise infrared image of the distant universe to date was created in July by the James Webb Space Telescope.



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