16 November 2012

Google Chrome Blog: “Explore the stellar neighborhood with your browser”

Visualizing the exact location of every star in the galaxy is a problem of, well, galactic proportions. With over 200 billion stars, capturing every detail of the Milky Way currently defies scientists and laptops alike. However, using imagery and data from a range of sources, including NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), we were recently able to take one small step in that direction by plotting the location of the stars closest to our sun.
The result is a new Chrome Experiment called 100,000 Stars that visualizes the stellar neighborhood. Using your mouse or trackpad, you can zoom in and out to explore our galaxy. Zooming in reveals the names of the most prominent stars close to our sun – click each name to learn more about it and see a digital rendition. Aaron Koblin

Awesome! Reminds me of Celestia, a desktop simulator for the Solar System and neighboring stars.

100,00 Stars is an interactive visualization of the stellar neighborhood created for the Google Chrome web browser. It includes real location data of over 100,000 nearby stars, including 87 major named stars and our solar system

Less awesome:

  1. First of all, when you zoom in you soon discover it’s actually far from accurate, since it displays double stars (Kruger 60 and Alpha Serpentis to give some quick examples) just like single stars; that’s not what you would see if you were to travel to the system;
  2. And secondly, it’s working optimally only under , even though other browsers support WebGL as well ( doesn’t load the star textures and the rendering in is choppy). So it’s basically just another way of saying: “see, we told you Chrome is better! Now go buy a Chromebook!

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