Well, they did it.

Scientists, using the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile, have finally imaged for the first time a planet outside our own solar system. The planet is 225 light years away from us (that's 225 times 6 TRILLION miles away) and is about 1.5 times the size of Jupiter. The Hubble Space Telescope provided a follow-up confirmation. The image is in the infra-red spectrum.

The planet orbits a Brown Drawf-type star. This is a dead star that did not have enough thermonuclear activity to go nova, and instead is a dark body that emits mainly heat. The planet and star in question is in the constellation Hydra.

Amazing. The Hubble is 13 years old and failing, and the VLT is earth-based and still manages to do this against the odds. This, my friends, is engineering, astronomy and terrestrial astro-optics at its best.

You can see the picture and read a full write-up about this here.