The faint red glow of a free-floating planet
This image shows a small region of the sky in the direction of the Upper Scorpius constellation. It zooms in on a recently discovered free-floating planet, meaning a planet that does not orbit a star but instead roams freely on its own. The free-floating planet is the tiny, bright red dot at the very centre of the image.
The image was created by combining data from the OmegaCam instrument on VLT Survey Telescope (VST) and from the VIRCAM instrument on the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA), both located at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile. Observations with these and other instruments helped the scientists tell the planets apart from stars, brown dwarfs and other objects in this region of the sky.
Lurking far away from any star illuminating them, free-floating planets would normally be impossible to image, but shortly after formation they emit a faint glow that can be detected by sensitive cameras on powerful telescopes.Credit:
ESO/Miret-Roig et al.
About the Image
|Release date:||Dec. 22, 2021, 9 a.m.|
|Size:||2048 x 2048 px|
About the Object
|Position (RA):||16 8 13.01|
|Position (Dec):||-23° 4' 31.91"|
|Field of view:||7.27 x 7.27 arcminutes|
|Orientation:||North is 0.9° right of vertical|
Colors & filters
|770 nm||VLT Survey Telescope|
|1.252 μm||Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy|
|2.147 μm||Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy|