A new NASA simulator lets you explore hundreds of known exoplanets from your laptop. “Eyes on Exoplanets” is a free download from NASA that uses data from the Kepler mission as well as ground based telescopes.
Users can view a 3D map and zoom in on specific planets including gas giants, super Earths, terrestrials and potentially habitable planets. Granted, the program doesn’t have the kind of detail that Google Earth does, but the fact that we have any information at all is kind of amazing. If you don’t know how exoplanets are found, check out the video below from MinutePhysics.
NASA also promises that Eyes on Exoplanets, which is currently in beta, will be constantly updated as new exoplanets are found. At the current rate that will mean several new planets to have a look at per month but that number is going to go up rapidly. Soon the James Web Space Telescope and the European Extremely Large Telescope will come online and new exoplanets will likely be found daily.
The map will also allow users to see where the exoplanets are in relation to one another and help amateur astronomers and star gazers to find the stars they orbit in the night sky.
Grab a copy of the free software at eyes.nasa.gov.
Sign up here with your email