This is the Gemini Planet Imager’s first light image of the exoplanet Beta Pictoris b. The Gemini Planet Imager is the most powerful exoplanet camera to look at the sky so far.
Briefly Beta Pictoris b is a planet around the star Beta Pictoris which has been blocked out so its light doesn’t interfere with the light of the planet.
Beta Pictoris b is several times larger than Jupiter and is very young, around ten million years old. According to the Gemini website the planet is glowing in the infrared from heat released in its formation.
Beta Pictoris is relatively close by being 19.4 parsecs (63.4 light-years) away in the constellation Pictor. 1.75 times larger and 8.7 times as luminous as our Sun, it is already on the main sequence.
Visit the Gemini website for more pictures and a good deal of information about the camera – worth the visit!by