Simulation of planets imaged by the Keck Telescope (left) compared to GPI (right).
Image Credit: Christian Marois/Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics
and Marshall Perrin/Space Telescope Science Institute

 

Gemini Planet Imager: New Telescope Will Photograph Distant Worlds

By Paul Scott Anderson

For those who wonder about alien worlds out there, this is an exciting time of discovery. The number of exoplanets found so far is now well into the thousands and rapidly growing. The one downside—if you can call it that—is that these planets, with just a few exceptions, have been discovered by methods other than direct imaging. So there are still precious few actual photos of any of these far-off worlds. But a new “extreme” telescope is set to start changing that.

The Gemini Planet Imager will take planet hunting to the next level, being able to image more planets than ever before. GPI is a telescopic instrument about the size of a small car designed to be attached to the 8-meter Gemini South telescope in Chile. It will use “extreme” adaptive optics to image the planets orbiting their stars.

Read more: Gemini Planet Imager: New Telescope Will Photograph Distant Worlds « AmericaSpace.

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