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ESO's Very Large Telescope in northern Chile.


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ESO's Very Large Telescope in northern Chile.
ESO's Very Large Telescope in northern Chile.

Exoplanet Image Confirmed.

Astronomers working with the European Southern Observatory have confirmed the first direct photograph of a planet orbiting another star. The team originally announced their discovery in September 2004, but they confirmed their findings this year using the powerful new NACO instrument on ESO's Very Large telescope in northern Chile. The planet is approximately five times the size of Jupiter, and orbits its brown dwarf star at about the distance that Neptune travels around the Sun.

Time to Concentrate on Saturn's Rings.

Now that it's completed flybys past several of Saturn's moons, Cassini will spend the next five months analyzing the planet's great system of rings. It'll view the rings from a position inclined 24-degrees, and orbit the planet 7 times, from now until September. This perspective will allow Cassini to analyze the rings in various wavelengths of light, from Infrared to visible to ultraviolet. Cassini will also be in the perfect position to watch several occultations, where the rings pass in front of stars, and help scientists precisely measure their thickness and opacity.

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