All right, I told myself I’d restrict my blogging to once a week so I could get my homework done or something, but this is just too cool:
Astronomers finally took a picture of an extrasolar planet.
(I got the image from the press release on EurekAlert.)
I know it just looks like a fuzzy dot, but it’s a gigantic breakthrough. Until now, astronomers only knew the planets were there because their gravitational tug made their parent star wobble, or because they eclipsed the star every so often, dimming its glow. Now that we can take pictures, we’ll be able to figure out what they’re made of, what their atmospheres are made of, how hot they are, all sorts of things! So exciting!
The New York Times coverage is excellent, and includes some colorful quotes. Go give it a read, if you haven’t yet.
But Ryan Anderson (my former Marslab colleague at Cornell) notes the image bears an eerie resemblance to something far more sinister…