Astronomy Live: Our Dynamic Solar Neighborhood

Part of Astronomy Live

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

An artist's depiction of the solar system, with eight planets in concentric orbits around the sun. Courtesy of NASA/JPL
Our solar neighborhood is the best astrophysical laboratory for determining how stars and planets form and evolve.

About 500 light years from the Sun, astronomers have discovered families of stars, planets, and brown dwarfs of varying sizes that move together. Some are bound tightly, others loosely. Some are breaking apart, and others are newly formed.  

In this special Astronomy Live, Senior Scientist Jackie Faherty will take us on an immersive journey through a newly created map of the solar neighborhood. We will travel light years in distance and millions of years in time to visit star clusters with planets that showcase how dynamic our solar neighborhood truly is, informed by the research that Faherty is carrying out with a major CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation. 

Science teacher and Museum Master of Arts in Teaching alum Deion Desir pilots this immersive trip through space and time in OpenSpace, the interactive data visualization software designed to visualize the entire universe, for a new and dynamic view of the solar neighborhood. 

Support for Hayden Planetarium Programs is provided by the Horace W. Goldsmith Endowment Fund.

This program utilizes OpenSpace software supported by NASA under award No NNX16AB93A. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.