Watching an Exoplanet in Motion around its Star

This video shows the exoplanet β Pic b orbiting the star β Pictoris, which lies over 60 light-years from Earth.

A series of images taken between November 2013 to April 2015, with the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) on the Gemini South telescope in Chile.

The star is at the center of the left-hand edge of the frame; it is hidden by the Gemini Planet Imager’s coronagraph. We are looking at the planet’s orbit almost edge-on; the planet is closer to the Earth than the star. The images are based on observations described in a paper published in the Astrophysical Journal, 16 September 2015 and whose lead author is Maxwell Millar-Blanchaer.

GPI is a groundbreaking instrument that was developed by an international team led by Stanford University’s Prof. Bruce Macintosh (a U of T alumnus) and the University of California Berkeley’s Prof. James Graham (former director of the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics, U of T). Image credit: M. Millar-Blanchaer, University of Toronto; F. Marchis, SETI Institute.


source SETI