The Kepler orrery

If you haven’t heard by now, the Kepler mission has opened up a firehose of exoplanet (candidate) detections. We’re up to more than 2300 candidates found by the mission, with more to come.

I’ve just discovered an awesome animation that Dan Fabrycky created to visualize systems discovered by Kepler that have more than one detected transiting exoplanet. (Note: this includes unconfirmed planet candidates as well.)

“There are 885 planet candidates in 361 systems. In this video, orbits are to scale with respect to each other, and planets are to scale with respect to each other (a different scale from the orbits). The colors are in order of semi-major axis. Two-planet systems (242 in all) have a yellow outer planet; 3-planet (85) green, 4-planet (25) light blue, 5-planet (8) dark blue, 6-planet (1, Kepler-11) purple.

I could stare at this for hours. Wow.