I have seen this question from 2013 asking if it's possible to take pictures of extrasolar planets. But I am wondering if anything has changed since then. Have we taken higher quality images of other planets (outside our solar system)?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Do you mind if I rewrite the title of the question to make it clear that you're asking about improvements in the state of the art? Occasionally people will vote to close questions as duplicate on the basis of the title question rather than what is said in the body. $\endgroup$ Jul 1, 2019 at 23:34
  • $\begingroup$ @RussellBorogove I dont mind go ahead $\endgroup$
    – Outsider
    Jul 1, 2019 at 23:51

1 Answer 1


Wikipedia has a list of directly imaged exoplanets. There are 22 of them and the latest one listed is HIP 65426, in 2017. It's image can be found here.

Another example is GU Piscium b, imaged in 2014:

enter image description here

NASA's Exoplanet Archive has a list of 46 directly imaged planets. To show them, enter "imaging" in the box at the top of the Discovery Method column. I could not see the actual images on that site but, duck-ing (or googling) the host name readily brings up the planet's image - at least for the ones I tried.

  • $\begingroup$ Are the colors accurate? $\endgroup$
    – Outsider
    Jul 1, 2019 at 23:52
  • $\begingroup$ Generally not. In most cases the observations are done in the infrared, because the light from the planet's parent star is slightly less overwhelming in IR than in visible light. $\endgroup$ Jul 2, 2019 at 0:12
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Outsider RB's point is quite right, and also adaptive optics is usually (always?) used and that was originally developed only for the infrared as well, where the technology was easier to develop. See Why aren't ground-based observatories using adaptive optics for visible wavelengths? and answers there. Please note that when we say "images of" it just means unresolved dots. As far as I know we're still very far away from resolved images of exoplanet surfaces. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jul 2, 2019 at 0:46
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @uhoh Indeed, we do not have the ability to see continents - or aliens for that matter ;-) $\endgroup$
    – hdhondt
    Jul 2, 2019 at 0:52

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.