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First confirmed photo of alien planet makes us want to believe

Laura June

The above planet -- whose existence was first detected in April of 2008 -- is the first confirmed alien planet (meaning that its orbiting a sun-like star) to ever be directly photographed. The system, called 1RXS 1609, is roughly five million years old (our own solar system is 4.6 billion years old), and the planet itself has an estimated temperature of over 2,700 degrees Farenheit. It's somewhat comparable to Jupiter within our own system, though this planet has about 8 times the mass. The star -- which is located 500 light years away in a large grouping of young stars called the Upper Scorpius Association -- has an estimated mass of about 85 percent of the Sun's. So, where does this leave those of us hoping for aliens to show up within our lifetime? Not much closer, unfortunately, but we suggest sending Mulder up there to check things out.

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