21/09/2015 17:36 BST | Updated 21/09/2015 17:59 BST

University of Toronto Astronomers Capture Video Of Exoplanet 63 Light Years Away

A team of astronomers have captured an exoplanet moving in its orbit around a distant star 63 light years away, on video.

They took the series of images between November 2013 to April 2015 and have captured the star orbiting planet as it moves through one and a half years of its 22-year orbital period.

Although the blurry clip is simply six seconds in length, it's arguably one of the best views that a space enthusiast can see.

63 light years

Part of the image that astronomers captured of an exoplanet

The ground-breaking clip of exoplanet Beta Pictoris b may not look like much, but to complete the task of recording the movement is an amazing feat.

To capture the images the team at the University of Toronto used the Gemini Planet Imaging (GPI) instrument on the Gemini South telescope in Chile.

Taken by a team of astronomers led by Maxwell Millar-Blanchaer, the task is made harder as the orbiting world usually appears a million times fainter than its parent star.


In a release made by the University, the team describe the planet Beta Pictoris b, first discovered in 2008, as gas filled and ten to twelve times the mass of Jupiter, with an orbit roughly the diameter of Saturn’s.

The researchers' observations, published in the Astrophysical Journal, include refinements to measurements of the exoplanet's orbit and the ring of material circling the star.

Astronomers have discovered nearly two thousand exoplanets in the past two decades but most have been detected with instruments.

They detect a faint drop in a star’s brightness as an exoplanet transits or passes between us and the star, but do not see the exoplanet itself.