Space

Alien Planet Imaged Directly

Photographed orbiting a star 300 light years away

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A newly discovered gaseous planet has been directly photographed orbiting a star about 300 light-years from Earth. Imaging alien planets is difficult, and this world may be the least massive planet directly observed outside of the solar system, scientists say.

A sharp new photo released by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) today (June 3) depicts the suspected gas giant (called HD 95086 b) circling its young star (named HD 95086) in infrared light. The star has been removed from the image to allow the planet — shown as a bright blue dot at the bottom left of the picture — to shine through.