406 stars observed with GPI
In November 2014 we set out to observe 600 young, nearby stars with the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) and the Gemini South telescope. Three years later, the survey has achieved a milestone with more than 400 targets observed.
Each frame in this movie shows an image from GPI. The star itself is partially blocked by a mask known as a coronagraph. Together with adaptive optics correcting for turbulence in the Earth’s atmosphere, and advanced image processing, we can  see the stellar neighborhood where Jupiter-like exoplanets, brown dwarfs, and circumstellar disks could be present.

406 stars observed with GPI from Franck Marchis on Vimeo.

No instrument is perfect, so every star is surrounded by a residual halo of speckles and noise. But other frames show real astronomical sources. In some frames, the round image of another star is present – a binary companion star or a chance alignment of a distant background star. In others, the faint companions are brown dwarfs or massive exoplanets, up to a million times fainter than their host star. And around several stars, you can see the lines or arcs of disks of planetesimal material, indicating a planetary system still in formation.
Detailed followup observations are needed to determine the nature of each possible companion. That detective work is ongoing, allowing us to continue to explore newly-formed planetary systems within a few hundred light years of our Sun.

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