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Watch an agonizingly short video of an exoplanet orbiting a star

Watch an agonizingly short video of an exoplanet orbiting a star

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This painfully short video is the best look we've ever gotten at a planet orbiting a star outside our Solar System. It was made from a series of images taken by the Gemini Planet Imager in Chile from November of 2013 to April of 2015, and shows just a fraction of the planet's 22-year orbital period around its parent star.

Now before you scoff at the low resolution and brevity of the video, consider this: the planet, known as Beta Pictoris b, which is a gas giant planet 10 to 12 times the size of Jupiter, is located more than 60 light years away from us (that's 3.52709989 x 1014 miles). If you traveled as fast as the New Horizons spacecraft — the fastest object ever launched off the Earth — it would still take you over one million years to reach it.

On top of that, planets themselves don't produce light; rather, they are illuminated by the light of their parent star. The problem with that is planets appear on the order of one million times fainter than those stars, which makes them incredibly difficult to find, let alone photograph. It's also not the first exoplanet ever to be directly imaged. But none of this changes the remarkable nature of the feat, and this is just the beginning; the Gemini Planet Imager will study 600 more stars in the next three years.