It's going to be hard for our earth-centric religions to rationalize this. We're talking, of course, about pictures of planets outside our solar system released today by astronomers at NASA, the U.S. space agency, and by Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in California. The photographs, taken by the Hubble telescope and two Hawaii observatories, show planets orbiting stars other than our Sun -- proving the existence of other solar systems. The findings of both organizations were published Thursday in Science Express, a publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, according to the Cable News Network (CNN). The existence of more than 300 planets outside our solar system ("extrasolar" planets, to our earth-centric astronomers) have been assumed based on observations of gravitational effects on stars seen from earth. "This discovery is the first time we have directly imaged a family of planets around a normal star outside of our solar system," said Christian Marois, lead astronomer in the Lawrence Livermore lab study, according to CNN. "After all these years, it's amazing to have a picture showing not one but three planets," physicist Bruce Macintosh of the Lawrence Livermore lab said, according to CNN. "The discovery of the HR 8799 system is a crucial step on the road to the ultimate detection of another Earth." The existence of solar systems and planets outside our own was, obviously, not anticipated by early thinkers and is not part of modern religions. Their very existence is a threat to the view of humans as alone in the universe. But, then again, none of the planets found thus far are habitable, as least as far as humans understand life.