I like to explore fun ways to visualize data and how to convey the excitement of our science to non-astronomers. Here are some of the visualizations I've created over the years.
Feel free to use them in presentations or educational settings as long as appropriate credit is given!
Kepler Orrery IV
All of the Kepler multi-planet systems (1705 planets in 685 systems as of 24 November 2015) on the same scale as the Solar System (the dashed lines). The size of the orbits are all to scale, but the size of the planets are not. For example, Jupiter is actually 11x larger than Earth, but that scale makes Earth-size planets almost invisible (or Jupiters annoyingly large). The orbits are all synchronized such that Kepler observed a planet transit every time it hits an angle of 0 degrees (the 3 o'clock position on a clock). Planet colors are based on their approximate equilibrium temperatures, as shown in the legend.
One Week of Transits in Kepler Data
This animation shows the 84 CCDs that make up the Kepler field of view. Every time a known planet candidate transits in front of its star, the planet appears on the figure at its appropriate location in the sky. The size and color the planet denote its size and approximate surface temperature, as seen in the legends.
One week of data is shown here in a 40 second loop. An immediate conclusion is that Kepler was observing around 90 transits simultaneously every second it was in operation. Another obvious feature is that the hot planets are more frequent, which is largely explained by the selection effect of their shorter periods and larger probability of transiting.
A shorter version (spanning one day and only 15 seconds in duration) can be viewed here.