Our First Image of an Alien Solar System

This image, captured by the SPHERE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, shows the star TYC 8998-760-1 accompanied by two giant exoplanets, TYC 8998-760-1b and TYC 8998-760-1c. The two planets are visible as two bright dots in the center (TYC 8998-760-1b) and bottom right (TYC 8998-760-1c) of the frame. Other bright dots, which are background stars, are visible in the image as well. By taking different images at different times, the team were able to distinguish these planets from the background stars.   

This is the first time astronomers have directly observed more than one planet orbiting a star similar in size to the Sun. Although astronomers have found thousands of exoplanets, most aren’t observed directly. Instead they are spotted as shadows crossing in front of their stars, or inferred as unseen forces tugging at their stars. The star, called TYC 8998-760-1, is about 300 light-years away in the constellation Musca.

This solar system is presumed to be comparably young, having been formed an estimated 17 million years ago, and the two visible orbiting planets are 14 and six times the size of Jupiter.

Did Hitler And Churchill Ever Meet?

I was surprised to learn from his book The Coming Storm that Winston Churchill had never met Hitler face-to-face. However, they came close early on when Hitler was rising to power. Churchill was touring Germany in the summer of 1932 and throughout his visit he “sensed a Hitler atmosphere. As we wended our way through these beautiful regions from one ancient, famous city to another, I naturally asked questions about the Hitler movement, and found it the prime topic in every German mind.”

A man named Herr Hanfstaengl was a mutual friend of the two men and was eager to arrange a meeting. “However, in the course of conversation with Hanfstaengl, I happened to say ‘Why is your chief so violent about the Jews. I can quite understand being angry with Jews who have done wrong or are against the country, and I understand resisting them if they try to monopolize power in any walk of life; but what is the sense of being against a man simply because of his birth? How can any man help how he is born?'”

“He must have repeated this to Hitler, because about noon the next day he came round with a rather serious air and said the appointment he had made with me to meet Hitler could not take place.”

“Later on, when he was all-powerful, I was to receive several invitations from him. But by that time a lot had happened, and I excused myself.”