Exoplanets are in vogue right now, and for good reason — the more we discover, the greater chance we have of stumbling on one that proves habitable to life, or perhaps is home to alien life.
Right now, you can watch hundreds of them spinning around in their little orbits in this cool animation created by Ethan Kruse, an astronomy graduate student at the University of Washington.
The animation includes 1,705 planets found in 685 multi-planet star systems — all discovered by the Kepler mission. The animation illustrates the correct scale of the orbits, but not their size (it would be way too difficult to represent a Jupiter-sized exoplanet next to an Earth-sized rock; either the former takes up half the screen, or the latter becomes practically invisible).
The animation does include unconfirmed “candidate” exoplanets that need to be verified. Previous studies have shown that more than 90 percent of candidate planets end up being confirmed, so it’s certainly fair to add them here.
Not to mention it just makes the video look a whole lot more hypnotizing. And to think that’s just a fraction of what’s really out there in space.