Scientists confirm: We've taken the 1st photo of an alien planet

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Dec 14, 2012, 4:31 PM EST

See that circled dot in the photo above? That's the first photo ever taken by a ground-based telescope of a planet outside our solar system—and confirmation of that has been a long time coming.

Astronomers snapped the picture of the exoplanet, which is eight times the mass of Jupiter, back in 2008, but it took several years for them to verify that what they'd found was indeed a planet orbiting a star in the 1RXS J160929.1-210524 solar system.

Astronomer David Lafreniere, the leading researcher on the team that discovered the star, says they were able to confirm their find with adaptive optics.

"The atmosphere blurs the image of a star so much that it extends over and is much brighter than the image of a faint planet around it, rendering the planet undetectable," said David Lafreniere. "Adaptive optics removes this blurring and provides a better view of faint objects very close to stars."

And if you're thinking we might visit any time soon ... don't. The planet is 500 light-years away from Earth.

(via Huffington Post)