Look On My Works, Ye Mighty: Exoplanet Dept.

Too cool not to add to what will be a veritable howl of bloggy love:

The first direct images of a planet outside our solar system, a Jupiter-class object orbiting the star Formalhaut, about 25 light years from our present location.  The planet, Formalhaut B, can be seen in the white box at the bottom right of this image:

Dennis Overbye over at the NYT website has a nice story up about the finding.

For my part, I’ll just get this up with the note that (a) unmanned space exploration has been one of the great cultural contributions of the United States for more than forty years — representing in my view one of the true claims my country has as a major contributor to the store of human civilization in that period…and (b) any reworking of NASA that pursues the Bush Moon-Mars space roadmap at the expense of next generation great  observatories would be an obscenity.

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