It may not look like much, but I've been waiting most of my life to see a picture like this. The Hubble Space Telescope has taken the first direct photo of a planet orbiting another star and there she is, a speck in the small white box toward the right. Named "Fomalhaut b," this little beauty is about 25 light years from Earth--right next door in interstellar terms. The planet is about three times the size of Jupiter and lies far, far away from its star Fomalhaut, 10 times the distance of Saturn from our Sun. It takes 872 years to orbit. That's a looooong year.
If you're interested, click here to go to an official announcement with bigger pictures. Of course this is just the beginning. Astronomers will refine their techniques and improve their instruments. Sometime in my lifetime I would not be surprised to see a clear photo of a little blue and green planet that looks a lot like ours. Wouldn't that be something?
What a great time to be alive.
(Note to my girls: And Bonus! It looks just like the eye of Sauron!)