An Orchestra of Exoplanets

NASA just dropped an astonishingly elaborate map of more than 4,000 exoplanets known to exist outside our Solar System, which takes the form of a video that shows how many exoplanets we’ve discovered each year since 1991.

Exoplanets are not only interesting to us because they orbit a different star, but also because they have the potential to harbor life… (Source: Futurism)

This is the story seed for every space opera novel ever written, from George Lucas’ Star Wars to the milieu of Iain Banks’ Culture novels. (Guess what I’m reading right now.) How many of these exoplanets are actually habitable? How many are orbited by habitable moons?

How many are not natural planets but artificially constructed megastructures like Banks’ orbitals, or Larry Niven’s Ringworlds?

Practically speaking, I can see how this charting would also serve as a solid foundation for a new epic sci-fi universe. Layer on some exotic names, paint in a few ancient civilizations, spackle the landscape with an intergalactic war or two…

Make sure you full screen the video. The data visualization is accompanied by a literal orchestra of exoplanets.

Bravo, bold astronomers. Bravo.

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