Every exoplanet orbiting every star discovered by the Kepler telescope

Illustration for article titled Every exoplanet orbiting every star discovered by the Kepler telescope

This amazing image takes all 1,235 of the candidate planets spotted by NASA's Kepler telescope, and then shows them in orbit around their stars. And all of this is still just the tiniest fraction of the entire Milky Way.


You're going to want to expand this image, and be sure to check out the absolutely massive version to get the full effect. The stars are arranged from biggest to smallest, with the biggest star on the top left about 6.1 times the size of the Sun and the smallest stars right at the bottom only about 0.3 the Sun's size. Astronomer Jason Rowe, who created the image, explains the finer details:

This picture shows every Kepler planetary candidate host star with its transiting companion in silhouette. The sizes of the stars and transiting companions are properly scaled. The colours of the stars are meant to represent how the eye would see the star outside of the Earths atmosphere. Stars have been properly limb darkened and the companions have been offset relative to one another to match the modeled impact parameter. Some stars will even show more than one planet!


Not all the planets can be seen at regular resolutions, but they're all visible in the ultra-high-res version. For a sense of scale, the Sun is included below the top row, with both Jupiter and Earth shown in transit, although only the gas giant is immediately visible. For another attempt to put all 1,235 candidate planets in perspective, check out this earlier video.


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Are these actual images of planets orbiting distant stars? If so, this is absolutely amazing! To think one of those planets might have a civilization living on it.