The European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (ESO VLT) has captured the first-ever image that captures two exoplanets orbiting a Sun-like star.

As the ESO explains in its blog post on the impressive feat, observing systems with multiple exoplanets is ‘extremely rare’ and, until this image, astronomers had never ‘directly observed’ multiple planets orbiting a young star.

Credit: ESO/Bohn et al.

In this groundbreaking image, captured by the SPHERE instrument onboard the ESO VLT, two ‘giant’ exoplanets are shown orbiting the star TYV 8998–760–1, which is estimated to be 17 million years old. Scientists captured the image by using a coronagraph to block the light from the young star, allowing for the light bouncing off the fainter planets to be seen.

The two gas giants are approximately 160 and 320 times as far away from their host star as the Earth is to the Sun. ‘This places these planets much further away from their star than Jupiter or Saturn, also two gas giants, are from the Sun; they lie at only 5 and 10 times the Earth-Sun distance, respectively,’ reads the blog post.

This chart shows the location of the TYC 8998-760-1 system. This map shows most of the stars visible to the unaided eye under good conditions and the system itself is marked with a red circle.

You can find information on this image and future findings by heading over the the ESO website.

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