October 02, 2022
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has captured the first pictures of a star-like planet orbiting an astronomical object that is far away.
The planet, dubbed HIP 65426 b, is a gas giant several times bigger than Jupiter and circling its star at a distance which is three times larger than the distance from Neptune as well as our solar system.
HIP 65426 b is about 15 million years old, a baby in terms of astronomy--and is about 350 light-years away from Earth.
You may not be awed by the quality of the detail that is evident in these latest planetary images, but the scientists who took these images definitely were.
The results showed, "I had to make sure that I wasn't looking at a simulated image," says Sasha Hinkley, a professor of Astrophysics of the University of Exeter in England who was the lead researcher for the research.
It was similar to the models we used the time we made our proposal in 2005. Images of HIP 65426b show that JWST exceeds expectations in its studies of exoplanets that are among the telescope's four main research areas.
In future research cycles, targets that were considered too small or distant to observe might be considered in reach. And ultimately JWST’s superlative exoplanet imaging work should help guide efforts to develop even more ambitious observatories that can photograph not just gas giants but targets that are much smaller and fainter