June 5, 2023

The newfound exoplanet HIP 99770 b (circled), is seen circling its host star in these images by Japan’s Subaru Telescope. Data from Europe’s star-mapping Gaia spacecraft revealed the likely presence of a big exoplanet in this system. (Image credit: T. Currie (Subaru/UTSA))

Astronomers have directly detected and imaged a gas giant orbiting another star by combining different techniques for hunting exoplanets.

Researchers first looked at a catalog of star-mapping data combined from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Gaia and older Hipparcos missions to identify stars that, based on their apparent movements or wobbles, are likely to be orbited by giant — and thus potentially visible — planets.

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