The Atlantic

A Faraway Solar System Is an Uncanny Reflection of Our Own

Astronomers have captured a strangely comforting scene 300 light-years from Earth.
Source: ESO / Bohn et al

This article was updated on August 3, 2020, at 11:55 am.

Astronomers have a saying about how difficult it is to see a distant planet outside of our own solar system: It’s like spotting a firefly next to a lighthouse.

Stars are so luminous that they block our view of planets that might be orbiting nearby, so astronomers have to work around them. They use special instruments on telescopes to block the light coming from these celestial beacons. With the glare gone, they can detect something else: heat radiating off of planets. In the resulting observations, the worlds are easier to spot—glowing orbs in the darkness, like fireflies hovering in the heat of a summer night.

This is how astronomers captured, is rare. Astronomers have of individual exoplanets before. And they have previously cosmic family portraits: planets together with stars brighter and heavier than our sun. But this is the first time anyone has captured two exoplanets around a .

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