Big news, earthlings. We’ve known for a while that our l’il ol’ solar system wasn’t the only one plugging away in the whole Great Beyond, but it wasn’t until this week that astronomers managed to get photographic proof of a planet orbiting a star that isn’t our sun.

Researchers from all over the place (but most prominently from our beloved Berkeley) worked together to snap the money shot of a big, bright, ringed exoplanet making its way across the universe– about 25 light years away. The Hubble Space Telescope was their weapon of choice, and now they’re using the Very Large Telescope to help further study this very large planet, since–compared to other images, at least–the thing’s still kind of a cosmic Loch Ness Monster. Except, um, it actually exists.

If all of this hullabaloo has left you with a sudden existential crisis, or if you’re just curious to know more about a monumental scientific discovery, Berkeley’s own celeb-professor (Yes, we did just make that up, thank you very much … ) of astronomical proportions, Alex Filippenko, has kindly promised to discuss it in his Astronomy C10 lecture on Monday in Wheeler Auditorium, from 3-4 p.m. It should be outta this world! (Cringe.) No, but seriously, folks. Go listen.

Researchers Photograph New Planet [Daily Cal]

dumb adn dumbera said:
Nov 15, 2008 at 12:43 pm

is this our new vacation spot?

dumb adn dumbera said:
Nov 15, 2008 at 12:44 pm

“It should be outta this world! (Cringe.)”