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Composite image of the planet 51 Pegasi B

Composite image of the planet 51 Pegasi B

R650/0032

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Credit

DR SETH SHOSTAK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR SETH SHOSTAK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Pegasi B. Composite image depicting the planet 51 Pegasi B (at centre left) above the solar flares protruding from the surface of its sun. This planet was discovered in 1995 by Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz of Geneva Observatory, Italy. The star 51 Pegasi is a Sun-like star some 42 light years from Earth. Its planet 51 Pegasi B is about half as massive as Jupiter, and orbits only 7 million kilometres from the star, equivalent to 1/6th of Mercury's orbit around the Sun. The surface temperature is probably over 1000 Celsius, and the rocks of the planet at least partly molten. Solar flares are caused by magnetic effects within stars.

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