Our Neighborhood

By Sean Carroll | September 2, 2009 4:40 pm

A very cool picture of our Solar Neighborhood. See this and a bunch more at The Neighborhood.


The collection isn’t complete; it focuses on relatively bright stars and those associated with known exoplanets. A slightly more realistic representation would have a lot more small, dim, red stars. Still, I like it.

  • http://lablemming.blogspot.com/ Lab Lemming

    They need to update Fomalhaut with an asterisk.

  • graviton383

    Very nice…thanks!

  • Brian

    Reality – WTF?

  • Michael Kingsford Gray

    This is a very clear method of displaying 3D data in a 2D format.
    I had not seen it done this way before.
    Very impressive.

  • chris

    the plane is the galactic plane?

  • Ben

    Anyone else a fan of the game Frontier 😉

  • nobody

    Quoting http://www.deepfly.org/TheNeighborhood/6-NeighborhoodSphere.html

    “The radius of the inner ring is 13 light years (4 parsecs); each successive ring represents an additional 13 light years. Numbers at the perimeter represent approximate right ascension, measured in hours. Asterisks indicate exoplanetary systems.”

  • nobody

    You can also use Celestia (free & open-source) to get a much more cooler image.


  • Gordan

    Ahhh, Elite II: Frontier. Good times, annoying bugs…

  • Pingback: Local Emptiness « Hyper tiling()

  • Dave Gill

    To Michael (#4)
    The technique used here is used extensively in drawings by Guy Ottewell in his awesome “Astronomical Companion” and the annual “Astronomical Calendar”. (For those of us Luddites who learned our night sky in the pre-PC days.

  • Jdhuey

    Of course if we let those Andromedaians move into our neighborhood….

  • Tina

    Very nice, but you really need to know which exoplanets are Goldilocks planets. I mean we’re finding these exoplanets with the hope of finding life when we go there; that rules out giants like Jupiter. So if some Magician of Time lands in his starship (there is no such thing as a faster than speed of light starship), we’d like to know which planet we might choose to immigrate to. Of course with general relativity time dilation, we don’t need faster that light travel to get there still young; but we still use biological deep hibernation and rejuvenation; as well as we quite a bit of cosmic ray shielding for starship safety. Well that’s the principle, and it’s already done. Of course the very existence of The Magician of Time is TOP SECRET. Local Earth politics like other planetary politics is very silly.


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Cosmic Variance

Random samplings from a universe of ideas.

About Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. His research interests include theoretical aspects of cosmology, field theory, and gravitation. His most recent book is The Particle at the End of the Universe, about the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs boson. Here are some of his favorite blog posts, home page, and email: carroll [at] cosmicvariance.com .


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