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Telescope snaps unique solar system photo

Part of the photo taken by the Very Large Telescope Associated Press/Bohn et al./ESO

Telescope snaps unique solar system photo

Scientists captured the first direct image of two planets orbiting a star similar to our sun. The Very Large Telescope in the Atacama Desert in Chile took the picture, which was released Wednesday.

What makes the photo so special? Most of the time, astronomers can only identify planets in other solar systems by the way they cause starlight to dim periodically as they pass by. Scientists have confirmed more than 4,000 exoplanets but have only captured direct images of 48, according to NASA. Scientists estimate the sun and its two gas planets are 300 light-years away from Earth.

Dig deeper: Read Julie Borg’s report in Beginnings about a comet you can see for the next few weeks without the help of a telescope.

Rachel Lynn Aldrich

Rachel is a former assistant editor for WORLD Digital. She is a Patrick Henry College and World Journalism Institute graduate. Rachel resides with her husband in Wheaton, Ill.


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