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VLT snaps an exotic exoplanet

Astronomers hunt for planets orbiting other stars (exoplanets) using a variety of methods. One successful method isdirect imaging; this is particularly effective for planets on wide orbits around young stars, because the light from the planet is not overwhelmed by light from the host star and is thus easier to spot. This image demonstrates this technique. It shows a T-Tauri star named CVSO 30, located approximately 1200 light-years away from Earth in the 25 Orionis group (slightly northwest of Orion’s famous Belt). In 2012, astronomers found that CVSO 30 hosted one exoplanet (CVSO 30b) using a detection method known as transit photometry, where the light from a star observably dips as a planet travels in front of it. Now, astronomers have gone back to look at the system using a number of telescopes. The study combines observations obtained with the ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile, the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, and the Calar Alto Observatory facilities in Spain.

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