For the first time, astronomers have used NASA‘s James Webb Space Telescope to take a direct image of a planet outside our solar system
The exoplanet called ‘HIP 65426 b’ is a gas giant, meaning it has no rocky surface and could not be habitable
The exoplanet is about six to 12 times the mass of Jupiter, and these observations could help narrow that down even further
It is young, about 15 to 20 million years old, compared to our 4.5-billion-year-old Earth
This image shows the exoplanet ‘HIP 65426 b’ in different bands of infrared light.
A set of masks within each instrument, called a coronagraph, blocks out the host star’s light so that the planet can be seen
Taking direct images of exoplanets is challenging because stars are so much brighter than planets
The ‘HIP 65426 b’ planet is more than 10,000 times fainter than its host star in the near-infrared, and a few thousand times fainter in the mid-infrared