First Pictures Of Four Alien Planets!

Illustration for article titled First Pictures Of Four Alien Planets!

Meet the neighbors. The Hubble Space Telescope has managed to snap our first picture of a planet outside our solar system, only 25 light years away in the constellation Piscis Australis. The planet Fomalhaut-B orbits the star Fomalhaut, and it's a balmy 260 degrees (Fahrenheit), cooler than other exo-planets. And meanwhile, Lawrence Livermore researchers believe they've snapped pics of three other exo-planets, in the Pegasus constellation. Click through for more pics. That giant red ring, by the way, is a 21.5 billion mile debris disk surrounding Fomalhaut, which is Arabic for "mouth of the fish." The planet is a white speck over towards the right. The three Pegasus planets are orbiting the star HR 8799, which is just barely visible in the night sky using binoculars. The Lawrence Livermore crew had found these planets in 2007, but waited to confirm their findings. Like Fomalhaut-B, the other three planets are gas giants, but they're way hotter than Fomalhaut-B. None of these planets is likely to support life, at least as we understand it. Here's an infrared picture of HR 8799 that shows its planets:

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Illustration for article titled First Pictures Of Four Alien Planets!

And here are some more pics of Fomalhaut-B, including a porny artist's impression.

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Illustration for article titled First Pictures Of Four Alien Planets!
Illustration for article titled First Pictures Of Four Alien Planets!
Illustration for article titled First Pictures Of Four Alien Planets!
Illustration for article titled First Pictures Of Four Alien Planets!
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[Hubble and AP and Science News]

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DISCUSSION

Fomalhaut has been used in some cool SpecFic works: [en.wikipedia.org]

Haldeman, PKD, and Ursula K. LeGuin for example. It is also the home of dread Cthugha, one of the Great Old Ones from the Lovecraft Mythos.

Cthugha is described as a fiery sphere. At first I was horrified when I saw these images, "OH NOES! KFUGGY GONNA EET MAI BRANEZ!!"

But then I realized all stars look like fiery spheres, so we have nothing to worry about.

Right?