Using the James Webb Space Telescope, astronomers managed to capture the first-ever direct and detailed image of a planet outside our solar system.
"This is a transformative moment, not only for Webb but also for astronomy generally," said Sasha Hinkley, associate professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, who led these observations.
The image shows the planet dubbed HIP 65426 b, a gas giant that was discovered in 2017. Unlike Earth-like planets, gas giants do not have a rocky surface and, therefore, cannot be habitable.
The exoplanet is located about 385 light years from Earth, and, according to various estimates, it is 6-12 times larger than Jupiter and is between 15 million and 20 million years old (for comparison, Earth is about 4.5 billion years old). Its atmosphere has a temperature of 1300°C and contains reddish clouds of silicate dust.
HIP 65426 b was photographed by James Webb using a set of light filters that block out the starlight. Each of the four light filters has produced an image in which the exoplanet looks like a shifting blob of light.