News Release Archive:

News Release 333 of 1051

April 1, 2009 09:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2009-15

Hubble Finds Hidden Exoplanet in Archival Data


Image: Exoplanet HR 8799b Recovered in NICMOS Data Archive (Annotated)

Exoplanet HR 8799b Recovered in NICMOS Data Archive (Annotated)STScI-PRC2009-15b

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This is a Hubble Space Telescope NICMOS (Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer) coronagraphic image of a planet orbiting the star HR 8799, located 130 light-years away.

The coronagraph has been used to block the light from the bright star (black circle) allowing the search for the dim glow of the planet HR 8799b. A special image-processing algorithm was used to suppress the starlight bleeding around the coronagraph to the point where the planet was detectable.

The planet was first discovered in 2007 at the Gemini North observatory. It was identified in the NICMOS archival data in a follow-up search to see if Hubble had serendipitously imaged the planet. The planet changed position between the two epochs as it moved along its centuries-long orbit about the star.

The planet is estimated to be at least seven times the mass of Jupiter and about the same diameter. It is located 6.3 billion miles from its parent star.

Object Name: HR 8799b

Image Type: Astronomical/Illustration

Credit: NASA, ESA, and D. Lafrenière (University of Toronto, Canada)


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