Embargoed Until: 9:00 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time (5:00 a.m. EDT)
PR 03-73 - July 3, 2003
The image shows an impression by David A. Hardy of a possible scene from a moon orbiting the extra-solar planet in orbit around the star HD70642. The planet has a mass about twice that of Jupiter and orbits the star in roughly six years, with a nearly circular orbit of more than three times the Earth-Sun distance. The star HD70642 is a 7th magnitude star in the southern constellation Puppis, and has properties very similar to that of our sun. The similarity in appearance of the extra-solar planet to Jupiter arises because the planets have a similar mass. The possible existence of the moons has been inferred from our knowledge of the planets in our own solar system and from theories of planetary formation—they have not actually been detected.
Photo Credit: David A. Hardy, astroart.org
Copyright (c) Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council
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Photo of Siding Spring Mountain and associated telescopes. The 3.9m Anglo-Australian telescope is the large telescope in the background.
Credit: Paul Butler, Carnegie Institution of Washington.