Cool interactive map lets you explore 786 known exoplanets

XKCD published an infographic a few weeks ago, showing 786 known exoplanets in our Milky Way galaxy. These are planets orbiting suns other than our own. Now the Planetary Habitability Laboratory, aided by coding from Lane Harrison, has released an interactive version of that exoplanet map. The graphic below shows what it looks like. To go to the real interactive map, click here.

This is not the interactive map. It’s just a graphic showing what the interactive map looks like. Still, this version of the map shows blue and light brown planets as those that are smaller than Jupiter. Brown represents the planets larger than Jupiter, while red represents the largest known planets. To play with the real interactive map, click here.

There are 786 exoplanets shown on the interactive map. Meanwhile, the Exoplanet Encyclopedia shows 777 planets as of today’s date. Why the difference? Well, astronomers like other scientists don’t always agree on what’s what. They have to argue about some things with each other for awhile before everyone will accept those things as true. And that’s how science works.

Of course, at the rate new exoplanets are being discovered there will soon be many more than 777, or 786, exoplanets known in our Milky Way galaxy. According to estimates released earlier this year, there might be 100 billion planets in our galaxy.

Let ’em argue. You just enjoy exploring known exoplanets with the cool interactive map!

Via Io 9 via It’s Okay to be Smart

July 31, 2012

Like what you read?
Subscribe and receive daily news delivered to your inbox.

Your email address will only be used for EarthSky content. Privacy Policy
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

More from 

Deborah Byrd

View All