DAVID A. HARDY / PPARC / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID A. HARDY / PPARC / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Tau Bootis planet. Artwork of an extrasolar planet orbiting the star Tau Bootis (upper left). This is the first alien planet to have reflected light from its surface detected. A moon is seen in front of the planet, and pink aurorae are seen at its poles. Sunspots are prominent on the star's face. The reflected light detected from the planet indicates that it has a blue/green colour. The planet orbits its star in just 3.3 days, and the mass based on these observations is about eight times that of Jupiter (2500 times that of Earth). The planet orbits around 7 million kilometres from the star. The light was detected in 1999 by astronomers at St Andrews University, Scotland.
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