This animation shows a zoom out from 0.015 au to 25 au in a hypothetical solar system containing all the exoplanets we have detected so far, plus the planets in our own system. Each planets colour indicates the type of star they orbit, from cool, M-dwarf-orbiting planets in red to planets around hot, F-types in blue. Solar system planets (and their orbits) are in green. (Click here for a 75mb .gif version, and here for a stremable version).
I hope what this animation shows is that we’re getting really good at finding planets close to their star, but when it comes to more distant planets, even just those as far out as Mercury or Venus, we’ve still got much work to do!
Also fun to spot:
- PSR J1719-1438 b which literally grazes the Sun here, orbiting its tiny neutron star parent once every 2 hours!
- Trappist-1‘s seven planets are noticeable because they’re on very short orbits and also move really slowly because their star is so low-mass.
- Highly eccentric planets like which swing through the inner system rapidly are cool. Try to spot HD80606b, the most eccentric exoplanet known!