The first pictures of planets outside our solar system have been taken, two groups report in the journal Science.
Visible and infrared images have been snapped of a planet orbiting a star 25 light-years away. The planet is believed to be the coolest, lowest-mass object ever seen outside our own solar neighborhood.Paul Kalas of the University of California led an international group that used the Hubble Space Telescope to image the region around a star called Fomalhaut.
The star has a massive ring of dust surrounding it that appears to have a cleanly groomed inner edge.The team estimates that the planet, dubbed Fomalhaut b, is 11bn miles away from its star, about as massive as Jupiter and completes an orbit in about 870 years. It may also have a ring around it.
"I nearly had a heart attack at the end of May when I confirmed that Fomalhaut b orbits its parent star," Dr Kalas said. "It's a profound and overwhelming experience to lay eyes on a planet never before seen."
25 lightyears away? That's just around the corner, universe speaking. It makes you wonder about those UFO sightings now, don't it? Think about it, if they have the technology to travel a minimum of 25 lightyears you better freakin' hope they are Vulcan and not Romulan or Klingon!
If we ever do detect life on these planets that would throw a huge monkey wrench into the Judeo/Christian religious theology. Probably would screw with the Muslim's head pretty badly, too. I'm not too sure about all the other religions. I'm admittedly uneducated about them. Bottom line is it would derail most religions.
What does this mean? How will billions of faithful react to having the rug yanked out from under them? A newer testament? New prophets? New God(s)?
Brothers and sisters this could get real ugly real fast.
Just food for thought...