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Giant Planet Orbiting Beta Pictoris
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Giant Planet Orbiting Beta Pictoris

January 7, 2014
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 Credit: Image processing by C. Marois (NRC Canada) Science Credit: NASA, Gemini Observatory, and M. Perrin (STScI/AURA)