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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