“follow the dust..”

Hubble image of Fomalhaut b

This stunning image shows the first ever visible light observation of an exo-planet, Fomalhaut b – larger captioned image here. As the NASA report details, Fomalhaut, located 25 light-years away in the constellation Piscis Australis, has been a candidate for planet hunters since the early 1980s, and in 2004 the High Resolution Camera on Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys imaged a ring of protoplanetary debris approximately 21.5 billion miles across. The observations above, taken 21 months apart [2004-2006] show an object moving around the star, gravitationally bound to it. Approximately three Jupiter masses it is brighter than expected, perhaps due to an associated ring system. And as the BBC report notes, like buses, you wait for an exo-planet for ages and four come along at once.. Although, maybe not ages.. I wonder what Robert Hooke would make of it all. Image credit: NASA/ESA Adds Hubblecast 22: Hubble directly observes planet orbiting Fomalhaut
For non-science geeks, there’s always the economic historical angle..