They Took a Picture of a Planet in Another Solar System

#Space

Sun, May 18th, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

The Stanford University website reports that through an international project it is leading, it was able to take a picture of Beta Pictoris b, an alien planet located in another solar system.

The photo of Beta Pictoris b — as the planet is known — is more impressive considering that the planet is more than 63 light-years away from Earth. The planet is visible in a single 60-second exposure; with previous instruments it would have taken an hour. The combined GPI dataset revealed important details of the planet's orbit and axis and its relationship to a nearby asteroid belt.

It also allowed Macintosh's team to predict that in 2017 the planet may "transit" — pass directly in front of its parent star. Although the Kepler mission has discovered thousands of transiting planets, none has been directly seen. Direct observation of a planet as it transits its star would allow the planet to be studied in unprecedented detail.

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