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Journal by hubie

Stunning new time lapse video shows 12 years of exoplanets orbiting their star:

In 2008, HR8799 was the first extrasolar planetary system ever directly imaged. Now, the famed system stars in its very own video.

Using observations collected over the past 12 years, Northwestern University astrophysicist Jason Wang [northwestern.edu] has assembled a stunning time lapse video of the family of four planets — each more massive than Jupiter — orbiting their star. The video gives viewers an unprecedented glimpse into planetary motion.

"It's usually difficult to see planets in orbit," Wang said. "For example, it isn't apparent that Jupiter or Mars orbit our sun because we live in the same system and don't have a top-down view. Astronomical events either happen too quickly or too slowly to capture in a movie. But this video shows planets moving on a human time scale. I hope it enables people to enjoy something wondrous."

[...] In November 2008, HR8799 made history as the first system to have its planets directly imaged. Wang, who was instantly fascinated by the system, has been watching it ever since. He and his colleagues applied for time on the W. M. Keck Observatory, located on the top of Mauna Kea in Hawaii, to observe the system each year.

After seven years of observations, Wang put together imaging data to create his first time lapse video of the system. Now, armed with 12 years of imaging data, Wang released the updated video, which shows the entire time period in a condensed 4.5-second time lapse.

[...] "In astrophysics, most of the time we are doing data analysis or testing hypotheses," he said. "But this is the fun part of science. It inspires awe."

The short YouTube video

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The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 12 2023, @04:15PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 12 2023, @04:15PM (#1291412)

    Thanks for the video link. While I see the planets moving, I'm not clear on why the star is pulsing larger/smaller?

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  • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 12 2023, @10:40PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 12 2023, @10:40PM (#1291438)

    Puh-lease.

    Everybody knows that little stars twinkle.

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by hubie on Monday February 13 2023, @02:09AM

    by hubie (1068) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 13 2023, @02:09AM (#1291458) Journal

    I think there's two things going on here. First is that it is using adaptive optics to cancel out the light from the main star, and that accounts for the mottled appearance of the main star (plus there's the black disk from the coronagraph) and the degree it works depends upon the state of the atmosphere and over how much of your field of view you can correct. The other thing is that the article mentions that Wang used "a form of video processing to fill in data gaps and smooth out the planets’ motion," which sounds to me like it is doing some smart temporal interpolation, and if so, the code will also want to interpolate the bits of light sneaking around the coronagraph in ways that weren't in the original data.