Exploring the universe

About us

Exoplanet hunter is an application that provides the user with information about scientific discoveries about Exoplanets the project consist of a web application and an Android application.

About the author and developer

Göran Bäcklund is a Swedish physicist and software developer. Göran took his master of science from Linne university in Vaxjo in 2011 his major was computational fluid dynamics. He works as a software developer with projects involving applications used for visualization and simulations of scientific weather data. He has a long time interest in cosmology and amateur astronomy. 

visit on linkedin

Project Background

I got the idea to develop an application for exoplanets during an assignment in a cosmology course. The assignment was to investigate if there were any open data API containing information about exoplanets. Later I developed one of my own using the PHL's Exoplanets Catalog. The first API was built with PHP using the Laravel framework and the first Android application was released in June 2013.

The purpose was to build a good portfolio app, that people interested in science could use to increase their knowledge.

Later the project was forgotten until the beginning of 2018 when I decided to port the old app to React native and .Net Core. Because I use these techniques in my work as a software developer.   

I will continue the project in my spare time, and I will develop some new really awesome features. In the future, the app will also support more platforms. Meanwhile, I will update this website with articles about cosmology and astronomy focusing on exoplanets.  

About the API

The data is provided by the Planetary Habitability Laboratory (PHL) the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo and can be found here: phl.upr.edu 

The API is using OData protocol that allows for logical querying capabilities. E.g if you want to find habitable planets "$filter= Habitable eq true". Find planet with name 14 And b "$filter=Name eq '14 And b’". Read more here: msdn.microsoft.com. Skip and top E.g takes 30 and skips 10 "$top=30 $skip=10". Order by ascending discovery year $orderby=Disc_Year asc.

About the web

The client app is built with the javascript framework react and semantic UI. There are three sections on the site:

  • Catalog a section where you can browse all confirmed Exoplanets. It is possible to filter for just habitable planets or search for a specific planet name. You can visit information pages about the planet and the star and see you can see a 3D simulation of each solar system.
  • Map in this section we have an interactive star map of all the 88 modern constellations. And all habitable planets are shown as markers in the map. The map is using Leaflet
  • Chart  Hertzsprung-Russell diagram the bubble chart is a plot of luminosity against the temperature of the star for all stars that have exoplanets. The charts are using Amchart

About the app

We live in one of the most exciting times ever, hundreds of exoplanets have been found. An extrasolar planet, or exoplanet, is a planet outside our Solar System. Even planets very similar to our own Earth have been confirmed which raises questions about the existence of extraterrestrial life. The purpose of the application is to give the user a comprehensive and accurate overview over discovered exoplanets.

  • Easy to read information pages for all found exoplanets
  • The application shows a 3D simulation of each solar system
  • Search for the planets locations in the sky by using GPS and the sensors of the phone
  • Completely Free!


Network communication: Full network access, Your location: Approximate (network-based) location, mock location sources for testing, precise (GPS) location