Created during April 2017

Meet the neighbors

This visual shows all the stars that we’ve discovered within 20 light years from our Solar system, and the exoplanets belonging to 12 of those stars. When comparing the types of stars, it becomes clear that most are found around M-type stars. That is why projects such as NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite has a prioritized list of similar type stars to look for even more exoplanets. The visual appeared in the December issue of the Scientific American.

The full 'Graphic Science' page in the December edition of the Scientific American
Close-up look of the 'Meet the Neighbors' page

Being an Astronomer (officially) I couldn’t say no to the request from Scientific American to create a visual about our nearby stars and their exoplanets.

Since stars are inherently circular, I immediately thought of showing the stars themselves in a beeswarm style, clustered to sit near their distance from our Solar System. Even better, I could use the actual colors that the stars are visible in to color each circle. After those two design choices, the rest of the visual came together quite quickly.

Close-up look of the 'Meet the Neighbors' page
A view of the online blog of the story