News Release Archive:

News Release 17 of 51

January 7, 2014 10:15 AM (EST)

News Release Number: STScI-2014-08

STScI Astronomers Help Develop and Operate World's Most Powerful Planet Finder


Image: Giant Planet Orbiting Beta Pictoris

Giant Planet Orbiting Beta PictorisSTScI-PRC2014-08a

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This is the Gemini Planet Imager's photograph of Beta Pictoris b, a planet orbiting the star Beta Pictoris. This giant planet is several times larger than Jupiter and only 10 million years old. These near-infrared images show the planet glowing from the heat released in its formation. The bright star Beta Pictoris is hidden behind a mask in the center of the image that blocks out the glare of the central star. The star system, located 63 light-years away, has been intensively studied in the search for exoplanets ever since excess infrared radiation was discovered around the star in 1983. This was considered circumstantial evidence of a planetary debris disk encircling the star.

Image Type: Astronomical

Image Credit: Image processing by C. Marois (NRC Canada)

Science Credit: NASA, Gemini Observatory, and M. Perrin (STScI/AURA)