24/7 Space News
EXO WORLDS
Watch distant worlds dance around their sun
An updated time-lapse of the previous 7-year time lapse! HR 8799 harbors four super-Jupiters orbiting with periods that range from decades to centuries. We have been monitoring this system using the Keck Observatory on Maunakea. This movie was made using real images taken from the telescope. Motion interpolation was used on 10 images of HR 8799 taken from over 12 years to create this movie.
ADVERTISEMENT
Watch distant worlds dance around their sun
by Amanda Morris NU News
Evanston IL (SPX) Jan 31, 2023

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 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."

An expert in exoplanet imaging, Wang is an assistant professor of physics and astronomy in Northwestern's Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA).

HR8799 is a compact star located 133.3 light-years away from Earth in the Pegasus constellation. Although this seems unfathomably far away, HR8799 is considered within our "solar neighborhood." Compared to our sun, HR8799 is 1.5 times more massive and roughly 5 times more luminous. It also is much younger. At around 30 million years young, the system formed after the dinosaurs went extinct.

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.

"There's nothing to be gained scientifically from watching the orbiting systems in a time lapse video, but it helps others appreciate what we're studying," Wang said. "It can be difficult to explain the nuances of science with words. But showing science in action helps others understand its importance."

To construct the video, Wang used technology called "adaptive optics" to correct image blurring caused by Earth's atmosphere. He also used specialized instrumentation, called a "coronagraph," and processing algorithms to suppress the glare from the system's central star. (This is why the video has a black circle in the middle. Without this, the glare would be too intense to see the planets dancing around it.) Finally, Wang used a form of video processing to fill in data gaps and smooth out the planets' motion. Otherwise, the planets would appear to jump around instead of smoothly orbit through space.

The final product shows four faint dots sailing around their central star. Although they look like mere fireflies, the planets are actually massive gas giants. Wang compares them to "scaled up versions" of Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus. The planet nearest the star takes about 45 Earth years to make one revolution. The farthest planet, on the other hand, takes nearly 500 years to trace the same path.

For Wang, exploring space through videos is the best part of his job. Next, Wang and his collaborators are examining the light emitted from the star and its planets in order to better understand what they are made of.

"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."

Related Links
Northwestern University
Lands Beyond Beyond - extra solar planets - news and science
Life Beyond Earth

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

RELATED CONTENT
The following news reports may link to other Space Media Network websites.
EXO WORLDS
How do rocky planets really form
Pasadena CA (SPX) Jan 13, 2023
A new theory for how rocky planets form could explain the origin of so-called "super-Earths"-a class of exoplanets a few times more massive than the Earth that are the most abundant type of planet in the galaxy. Further, it could explain why super-Earths within a single planetary system often wind up looking strangely similar in size, as though each system were only capable of producing a single kind of planet. "As our observations of exoplanets have grown over the past decade, it has become clear ... read more

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
EXO WORLDS
Design a spacesuit for ESA

NASA announces finalists in challenge to design future astronaut food

NASA names first person of Hispanic heritage as chief astronaut

UAE 'Sultan of Space' grapples with Ramadan fast on ISS

EXO WORLDS
Poland's SatRev signs on for future Virgin Orbit flights

Columbia disaster that scuttled the space shuttle

First step toward predicting lifespan of electric space propulsion systems

SpaceX successfully launches 53 Starlink satellites

EXO WORLDS
Mars Helicopter at Three Forks

Perseverance completes Mars Sample Depot

Making the Most of Limited Data: Sols 3278-3279

The faults and valleys of a Martian volcanic highland plateau

EXO WORLDS
China's Deep Space Exploration Lab eyes top global talents

Chinese astronauts send Spring Festival greetings from space station

China to launch 200-plus spacecraft in 2023

China's space industry hits new heights

EXO WORLDS
OneWeb and Kazakhstan National Railways to work together

Inmarsat-6 F2 satellite arrives on board an Airbus Beluga in Florida for launch

ATLAS works with AWS to advance federated network and expand ground station coverage

Ovzon receives first SATCOM-as-a-Service order from Spain

EXO WORLDS
Matrix multiplications at the speed of light

D-Orbit launches ION's first mission into a midinclination orbit

IBM and NASA collaborate to research impact of climate change with AI

Ghostly mirrors for high-power lasers

EXO WORLDS
Will machine learning help us find extraterrestrial life

AI joins search for ET

A nearby potentially habitable Earth-mass exoplanet

Two nearby exoplanets might be habitable

EXO WORLDS
NASA's Juno Team assessing camera after 48th flyby of Jupiter

Webb spies Chariklo ring system with high-precision technique

Europe's JUICE spacecraft ready to explore Jupiter's icy moons

Exotic water ice contributes to understanding of magnetic anomalies on Neptune and Uranus

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters


ADVERTISEMENT



The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2023 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.