Proper Motion Animation
A Proper Motion Animation using Hipparcos Data
A dramatic illustration of the effect of proper motion on the appearance of the night sky over time can be seen using this animation. (Note this spawns a second window which you may need to adjust in order to view both this window and the animation window.) Do note that this is an animation using the real Hipparcos satellite results, not a simulation using fabricated data!
To run the animation, enter the RA and Dec values of the region you would like to view and click on "View". A sky region 8 x 8 degrees is extracted. As for the sky plots presented elesewhere within these pages, click on an object to have the HIP number and magnitude returned (for fast moving objects this may be a challenge!), and click "get info" to have the catalogue details returned. Only Hipparcos Catalogue objects (and not Tycho Catalogue objects) are returned for this sequence.
You can select stars brighter than a magnitude V(lim) to plot. V(lim) is the V magnitude given in the Hipparcos and Tycho Catalogues (Field H5/T5).
When the stars have been drawn, click on animate to begin the animation. You can see the year corresponding to the new sky configuration at the right of the panel. Click "reset" if you want to restart the animation from the current time. You can also change the "step" interval in years (use the smallest step interval for the highest proper motion stars).
The "Tails" button allows you to monitor the motion of the stars by drawing the path of the star as it moves across the sky. For slowly moving stars you may have to wait some time before the star motions become apparent. For stars with high proper motion, the path will appear as a sequence of yellow dots as the path is broken up into discrete frames. This action can be toggled on and off. Some regions will appear better with the tails feature active or inactive.
Watch as high proper motion stars move across the field. A small region beyond the "active field" is used for the calculations, so you may also see some higher proper motion stars appearing in the field as you watch.