Saturday, September 15, 2018

The Exoplanet Explorer

The Exoplanet Explorer is an interesting attempt to create imagined solar systems showing the orbits of all the known exoplanets. An exoplanet is a planet that has been discovered outside the Sun's solar system. Thousands of exoplanets have now been discovered, mostly with NASA's Kepler Space Telescope.

The Exoplanet Explorer uses data from NASA to create imagined views of the three thousand exoplanets discovered so far. These views are based on the data known about the visualized planet. Alongside this imagined view of the planet you can view information about the planet, such as its temperature, size and the length of its orbit around its sun. I have no idea how accurate these exoplanet maps are but I assume they are generated based on this information.

You can see a more accurate view of the exoplanets on the Exoplanets Viewer. The Exoplanets Viewer is a WebGL visualization (with a little help from Unity) of the Universe, showing the location of all the exoplanets discovered so far. The Exoplanets Viewer shows the position of all the known exoplanets as seen from your current location and time.

The color of an exoplanet on the map represents its temperature. The green exoplanets are those situated in the habitable or 'Goldilocks' zone. The hottest planets are colored red while ice worlds are colored blue. If you are looking for a new home then you want to choose one on one of the green planets.

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