A group of professional astronomers from the European Space Agency’s Gaia mission created every Pink Floyd superfan’s dream: an animation of stars in the night sky that have roamed space for more than a million years. And to make things even more cosmic, the animation shows the stars not how they moved in the past, but how they will be in the future.
futurism took up the animation that ESA astronomers recently posted on YouTube. In a post on ESA’s Gaia website, the group outlines how they developed this short but standout visual model. And, according to astronomers, it is actually “scientifically correct” if you use the correct calculations to assume the trajectory of these stars.
Speaking of which, the animation contains 40,000 stars 100 parsecs away from the Sun. (That’s about 3.3 light years.) Although astronomers find that there are far more stars in this cross-section than shown. That said, this piece of heaven is even more starry IRL.
ESA Gaia Mission
The first image of the animation shows the current positions of the 40,000 stars in the night sky. Note that the brightness of the points will vary depending on the actual brightness of the stars they represent.
The next pictures show traces that appear from the positions of the stars. These paths show how the stars move across the sky over 80,000 years and give them an arc for viewers to follow. In other words, the astronomers stretched the stars out in 80,000 year long strips so that they could more easily see their movement.
Then the bright points that represent the points fade and only the traces remain. The rest of the short animation shows how the stars will move over the next 1.6 million years.
The Gaia astronomers also published an equally interesting animation of 74,281 stars in the same 100-parsec cross-section moving around the center of our galaxy. In this video, the animation shows how the stars will orbit over the next 500 million years. By the way – although maybe not ?! – the animation reminds us a lot of this translucent cinnamon bun from the deep sea.