"Oh, the planets you’d see in the sky – you can’t miss ‘em!"
So does Sean Raymond, astrophysicist at the Université de Bordeaux, describe the hypothetical view from an exoplanet that is 40 light-years away from us. For my new dataviz project, I browsed the European exoplanet database and designed visuals to celebrate decades of observation and research on these cosmic giants.
The next infographics represent all exoplanets (i.e, 4395 as of January 1, 2021) and parent stars in the database. White inner circles are objects sorted by size, dark inner circles represent the Earth and Sun, and blue and yellow outer circles show distances to Earth (more on that in the next section). For comparison, the smallest star is shown next to the exoplanets and the biggest exoplanet is shown next to the stars.
Here we focus only on the 298 exoplanets for which exhaustive information was available in the database. In each visual, the hottest star is in the upper left corner. For the exact age of a star, look at where planets are orbiting – their position is relative to the age range listed at the top of visuals. I "transformed" the data so everyting fits nicely, but keep in mind that sizes and distances are greatly amplified in real life. As a side note, exoplanets and stars are usually named after the telescope used to find them.