It is probably not the first time you hear scientists likened an exoplanet to Jupiter. According to a team of astronomers, a planet called 51 Eridani b is not only similar in size: 51 Eri B has an atmosphere rich in methane "very much like patterns that suggest as Jupiter at the beginning.". It was detected with the new Gimini Planet Imager instrument from Gemini South Telescope in Chile, as big as a small car, and it was made to filter atmospheric turbulence and has been optimized to find planets near bright stars. This exoplanet, for example, is a million times dimmer than its host star which is only about 20 million years old. Our sun is 4.5 billion years.
So how resembles Eri 51 b with the largest planet in our solar system?
One reason is that it is only twice the size of Jupiter, while those discovered in the past were about five times larger. Also, scientists suspected that was formed in the same way as the gas giants in our solar system. The other exoplanets like Jupiter are too hot, but Eri 51 b has a temperature of 800 degrees Fahrenheit and is considered "cool" like Jupiter, which has an average temperature of 234 degrees.
It could be so because like on our gas giants, its rocky nucleus was formed over a period of several million years before starting to attract gas. Other planets are likely to have dragged gas heat too fast. Astronomers hope that this young exoplanet can help us better understand how gas giants formed around the sun.
Below are images taken with the video camera attached to my telescope.
|The Galilean moons of Jupiter.|
Distance: 745,969,326 km. (4982 A.U.)
Astronomical Instrument: Celestron Newtonian 8 inch Telescope
Mount C5 / EQ5
Video Camera: Sony CX-130
Ocular: Plossl 20mm, 2x Barlow
Date: January 28, 2012
Edit: Sony Vegas 10
Location: Baia Mare, Romania