The exoplanet hunting Kepler mission's total for candidate and confirmed multiple planet systems stands at 1,705 worlds in orbit around 685 distant stars. Put all of those exoplanet orbits on the same scale and follow their relative orbital motions to get Kepler Orrery IV.
To make the planets visible, their sizes aren't shown to scale. But orbits of the planets in the Solar System (dashed lines) are included to scale in the animation. Of course, Kepler uses planetary transits to detect exoplanets, looking for a slight dimming of light as the planet crosses in front of its star.
In the time compressed animation, Kepler's multiplanet system orbits are all oriented to put observed transits at the three o'clock position. The dervish-like movements highlight a stark contrast between most Kepler-discovered exoplanetary systems and our own. The color code indicates a planet's estimated equilibrium surface temperature based on its orbit size and parent star.
Video Credit & Copyright: Ethan Kruse (University of Washington)
Info & video via APOD
From Earthsky: As seen during Northern Hemisphere winter (or Southern Hemisphere summer), the stars seem brighter. Why? It’s partly because – on December, January and February evenings – the part of Earth you’re standing on is facing into the spiral arm of the galaxy to which our sun belongs. Read more: http://earthsky.org/space/star-seasonal-appearance-brightness
Artist’s illustration via NASA/JPL/Caltech/R.Hurt.
The near-real-time operational GEOS-5 atmospheric data assimilation system ingests more than 5 million observations every six hours producing comprehensive analyses and forecasts of the atmosphere each day at 25-km global resolution.
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