An incredible new video shows direct images of four alien exoplanets orbiting a star.
The stunning animation was created by University of California, Berkeley astronomy undergraduate Jason Wang and shows seven years of observations taken from the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii.
What you’re looking at is direct footage of four exoplanets, each more massive than Jupiter, orbiting the young star HR 8799.
If you’re wondering why the video doesn’t show a full orbit that’s because the closest planet takes around 40 years to orbit its star while the furthest takes a staggering 400 years.
According to Many Worlds’ Marc Kaufman, Wang took eight observations of the planets and then used a motion interpolation algorithm to create the smooth animation you see above.
HR 8799 is located around 129-light years from Earth in the constellation Pegasus. As Kaufman points out it’s actually not that far from 51 Pegasi, the star system where the first exoplanet was located.
According to Kaufman, the idea for the animation came from an initial, but less exciting animation showing a planet orbiting the star Beta Pictoris.
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