MONTREAL, June 29 (UPI) — Canadian researchers say they have confirmed a planet discovered outside our solar system is orbiting a star much like the sun.
First observed by the twin Gemini telescopes operating in Hawaii and Chile in April 2008, it required further research to confirm the two objects were associated and not just aligned by chance, a University of Montreal release Tuesday said.
“Back in 2008 what we knew for sure was that there was this young planetary mass next to a young sun-like star,” David Lafreniere of the University of Montreal Department of Physics said.
“Our new observations rule out this chance alignment possibility, and thus confirms that the planet and the star are related to each other,” Lafreniere said.
The object is the first planet known to orbit a sun-like star that was revealed by direct imaging, the release said.
The planet, about eight times the mass of Jupiter, is in an orbit about 300 times farther from its own star than Earth is from the sun.
A spectrum of the planet reveals the presence of water vapor, carbon monoxide and hydrogen in its atmosphere, Lafreniere said.
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