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51 Eridani b: An exoplanet orbits its star

12 Oct 2021, 16:15 UTC
51 Eridani b: An exoplanet orbits its star
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51 Eridani b in motion

This is a planet.
Orbiting a star 96 light years away.
In these five frames, taken by the @GeminiObs and processed by @semaphore_P, the gas giant 51 Eridani b completes part of its 20-AU orbit around its host star.
Credit: Jason Wang/Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey pic.twitter.com/rqJVLbJRyl
— Paul Byrne (@ThePlanetaryGuy) October 11, 2021

Planetary geologist Paul Byrne at Washington University in St. Louis (@ThePlanetaryGuy on Twitter) tweeted this cool animation this week (October 11, 2021). It shows a distant exoplanet called 51 Eridani b – orbiting the star 51 Eridani – located just 96 light-years away. The animation shows four years of movement of the planet, out of its 20-year orbit around its star. The star itself is covered over to reduce glare.
The Gemini Planet Imager, or GPI, in Chile captured the images. GPI was the first to spot 51 Eridani b, in 2015. When astronomers found this world, they noticed it had many of the characteristics of a young Jupiter. It’s roughly twice the mass of Jupiter, for example. But it’s much younger, only 20 million years old. By contrast, our sun and Earth are all about 4.5 billion years ...

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