Astronomers Release First-Light Images From Gemini Planet Imager

Against the black background of outer space, a glowing round blue object encircled by an elliptical ring.
The Gemini Planet Imager’s first-light image of the light scattered by a disk of dust orbiting the young star HR4796.
Processing by Marshall Perrin, Space Telescope Science Institute

After nearly a decade of development, construction, and testing, the Gemini Planet Imager is pointing skyward and collecting light from distant worlds with the help of a special starlight-blocking device built at the American Museum of Natural History. Installed on one of the world’s biggest telescopes, the 8-meter Gemini South telescope in Chile, the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) carried out its first observations in November 2013, which were released today at the 223rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington, DC.