Orbit Movies

HR 8799

This system harbors four super-Jupiters orbiting with periods that range from decades to centuries. We're currently monitoring this system to understand if and how this system is dynamically stable.

This footage consists of 7 images of HR 8799 taken with the Keck Telescope over 7 years. Video made by Jason Wang, data reduced by Christian Marois, and orbits were fit by Quinn Konopacky. Bruce Macintosh, Travis Barman, and Ben Zuckerman assisted in the observations.


Credit: Jason Wang (UC Berkeley)/Christian Marois (NRC Herzberg)

Credit: Jason Wang (UC Berkeley)/Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey

β Pic b

This system harbors a belt of rocky rubble (not seen in the movie). β Pic b creates a warp in the disk we can see. This planet is just one degree from being perfectly edge-on so the planet will not transit its star. However, in 2017, we have a chance to look for the planet's circumplanetary material transiting. This video was made using 9 images taken with the Gemini Planet Imager over 2+ years.



The Fomalhaut system harbors a large ring of rocky debris that is analogous to our Kuiper belt. Inside this ring, the planet Fomalhaut b is on a trajectory that will cause it to pass straight through the ring. The nature of the planet remains mysterious, with the leading theory being the planet is enveloped in a sphere of dust.

The footage uses 5 images taken over 7 years using the Hubble Space Telescope. The ring is so large we don't have enough coverage of the ring to animate it. Rather, it is a composite image that combines all the data on the ring.


Credit: Jason Wang/Paul Kalas (UC Berkeley)

How are these movies made?

We unfortunately do not have the luxury of watching these planets every night and record them. However, these planets move slowly, with orbital period at least decades long, and predictably following Kepler's laws. We can use a technique called motion interpolation to reconstruct what the image should look like using an image taken before and after the date we are interested in. Motion interpolation is a technique commonly found in video editing and in modern TVs.

What is the flare-looking stuff coming out from the stars?

The light near the star that looks like it comes out from the occulter that blocks the star is not astrophysical in origin. What you are seeing is the residual glare of the star, caused by starlight scattering off of the telescope optics. The images you see here are already processed to remove most of the glare of the bright star so that we can even see these planets. However, this process is not perfect and residual scattered starlight is what you see.


Creative Commons License
All work on this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. This means you are free to use this material, as long as you give credit.