Chances are, none of us will live long enough to travel to a planet in another star system. But at least, we can gaze upon dozens of exoplanets right now — thanks to official artworks created by NASA and some of the world's greatest high-tech observatories. Check out our favorite official exoplanet art below.
We already showed you some beautiful exoplanet conceptions by Internet artists — but this time around, we're sharing official exoplanet images from the major space agencies and scientific institutions. Check 'em out below.
The dark magenta-colored GJ504b in the constellation Virgo, approximately 57 light-years from Earth, with a mean temperature of about 480 °F (250 °C). It's the lowest-mass discovered exoplanet ever.
(Photo by NASA/Godard Space Flight Center/S. Wiessinger)
The CoRoT-2b, an extrasolar planet and its sun, 930 light-years from Earth in the constellation Aquila. The hot (2306 °F or 1263 °C) planet is 1.43 times bigger than Jupiter and 3.3 times as massive.
(via NASA/CXC/M. Weiss)
The Kepler-78b is roughly 20 percent larger and 1.8 times heavier than our planet. Due to its extremely close solar orbit, the planet's surface is at a temperature of 3,680 °F (or 2,030 °C).
(Photo by AP/Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics/David A. Aguilar)
HD 189733 b, a huge and warm gas planet, close to a hot star, with an average daytime temperature of 1770 F (965 C) and a nighttime 1250 ºF (650 ºC).
But how does the back side of the planet stay so warm? NASA has an explanation:
The answer is wind: insanely fast, dangerous wind that whisks heat from day-side to night-side at a speed of 4,500 mph, nearly six times the speed of sound. In fact, astronomers estimate that wind speeds might top out at 22,000 mph, conditions that make hurricanes on Earth look like a breezy day at the beach.
The snow line in TW Hydrae showing water ice covered dust grains in the inner disc and carbon monoxide ice covered grains in the outer disc. The transition from blue to green marks the carbon monoxide snow line. The snow helps grains of dust to adhere to each other by providing a sticky coating, which is essential to the formation of planets and comets.
The Gliese 667 Cd, an ice planet (it's only -202 °F or -130 °C) in the constellation of Scorpius, about 22 light-years from Earth. It could have an ocean under the ice.
(via ESO/M. Kornmesser)
HD 189733b, 63 light-years from us, with a temperature of over 1800 °F (1000 °C), glass rains and howling 4350 mph (7000 kmh) winds
(via NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle)
Infrared view of the free-floating planet CFBDSIR J214947.2-040308.9, the closest such object to the Solar System. It does not orbit a star and hence does not shine by reflected light; the faint glow it emits can only be detected in infrared light.
The methane-free GJ 436b, where the average temperature is about 980 °F (527 °C), about 33 light-years from us
The Moon-sized Kepler-37b, the smallest known exoplanet, 210 light-years from Earth. It has a quite high mean temperature (800°F or 425°C), but no atmosphere, so it cannot support life.
OGLE-2005-BLG-390L b, 21,500 ± 3,300 light years away from Earth, the chillest known exoplanet yet discovered: the average temperature is only -370 °F (-223 °C)!
The ocean-like Kepler-22b, 620 years away in the constellation of Cygnus. It was the first known transiting planet to orbit within the habitable zone of a Sun-like star.
The pulsar planets PSR B1257+12 b, c, and d are all that remains of a dead solar system. They are constantly beamed with intense radiation.