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 traversing space, across more than a million years of time. And, to make things even more cosmic, the animation shows the stars not how they have moved in the past, but how they will move in the future.
Futurism resumed the animation, which ESA astronomers recently posted on YouTube. In a post on ESA’s Gaia website, the group outlines how they developed this short, but stellar visual model. And, according to the astronomers, it is indeed “scientifically correct”, using the right calculations to assume the trajectory of these stars.
By the way, the animation includes 40,000 stars, within a distance of 100 parsecs from the Sun. (This is about 3.3 light years in diameter.) Although astronomers note that there are many more stars in this cross section than shown . It means that this slice of sky is even more starry IRL.
ESA’s Gaia Mission
The first frame of the animation shows the current positions of the 40,000 stars in the night sky. Note that the dots vary in brightness based on the actual brightness of the stars they represent.
The next frames show traces appearing from the positions of the stars. These paths show how stars will move across the sky over the course of 80,000 years and give them an arc that viewers can follow. In other words, astronomers have stretched the stars into 80,000-year-long stripes, so it’s easier to see their motion.
Subsequently, the bright spots representing the spots fade away, leaving only trails to follow. The rest of the short animation shows how stars will move over the next 1.6 million years.
The Gaia astronomers also released an equally interesting animation of 74,281 stars in the same 100 parsec cross section moving around the center of our galaxy. In that video above, the animation shows how stars will orbit over the next 500 million years. Incidentally, although maybe not ?! animation reminds us a lot of this translucent deep sea cinnamon roll.