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A beautiful and powerful solar system viewing tool.
April 4, 2011 6:26 PM   Subscribe


 
Let me know when the HTML5 version comes out.
posted by MrGuilt at 6:42 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lovely, cheers.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:43 PM on April 4, 2011


What the hell is Pluto doing there???
posted by jabberjaw at 6:51 PM on April 4, 2011


What the hell is Pluto doing there???

Perpetratin'.
posted by louche mustachio at 6:52 PM on April 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


The scale is all off, it does nothing to indicate the vast emptiness of space. Also, I want to see Saturn's moons.
posted by localhuman at 6:58 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


localhuman:

go to: Settings->Planets & Moon->Planet Distances and move the slider to the far left.
Then move the slider under that to the far left.

probably not a perfect solution, but it should help.
posted by johnstein at 7:01 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just used this to figure out what it was my friend and I were looking at on March 25 while looking southwest-ish from Santa Cruz around 10 p.m. She thought it might be a planet, but I figured it was a star because it looked like it was twinkling. Based on this, I'm pretty confident it was Sirius.

So much geeky fun to be had with this.
posted by SugarAndSass at 7:02 PM on April 4, 2011


Thanks johnstein! I actually really like this. I'm not sure why I complain when things that are cool aren't exactly the way I want them to be.
posted by localhuman at 7:13 PM on April 4, 2011


SugarAndSass, when I want to know what's in my night sky in direction X at time Y, I absolutely love Stellarium. It's not on-line, so you have to download and install it, but once that's done it's incredibly easy to use.

If twenty years ago someone had told me I would have a planetarium of my very own I would have laughed. Now I do. I love living in the future.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:42 PM on April 4, 2011 [4 favorites]




The scale is all off, it does nothing to indicate the vast emptiness of space.

Yeah, they don't even mark the distance from here to the chemist's!

I'm student teaching right now and when we (fourth graders and me) were talking about explorers finding the Americas I found myself saying, without really realizing I was going to do it, "The ocean's big. I mean, really big. You might think it's a long way from here to the cafeteria but that's just peanuts to the ocean". I hope that some day when my kids grow up they're like "Hey! This Douglas Adams guy totally stole that line from Mrs. Pterodactyl!".
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:16 PM on April 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


go to: Settings->Planets & Moon->Planet Distances and move the slider to the far left.
Then move the slider under that to the far left.


Sigh, and there I was, totally triumphing over my irrational terror of Jupiter for one sweet once.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 8:21 PM on April 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't know why this is the first time I've ever read the phrase "one sweet once", but my life is richer for knowing it.
posted by brennen at 8:44 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's cool being able to turn the universe upside down and thereby secure Australia it's rightful place. No reason why not, after all.
posted by tumid dahlia at 8:45 PM on April 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Needs more asteroid belt.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:51 PM on April 4, 2011


I was going to snark about Pluto not being there, but Pluto was there. So, awesome. No Eris though.
posted by delmoi at 9:11 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fuck yeah, PLUTO!
posted by KingEdRa at 9:20 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


go to: Settings->Planets & Moon->Planet Distances and move the slider to the far left.
Then move the slider under that to the far left.


Better yet, move both the Planet Distance & Size Bars all the way to the right; Ain't so scary now, are ya', Jupiter? Know's who gonna kick your ass? Mercury. That's right. MERCURY. A big ol' rock right up side your gassy candy ass. Teach you to creep up on Earth and fuck with it like that</a.
posted by KingEdRa at 9:30 PM on April 4, 2011


Absolutely terrific. Does anyone know a year when planets supposedly / will supposedly line up?
posted by codacorolla at 9:32 PM on April 4, 2011


It's cool being able to turn the universe upside down and thereby secure Australia it's rightful place. No reason why not, after all.

Nope, no reason at all... IF YOU'RE INSANE.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:47 PM on April 4, 2011


If you like this, try Celestia!
posted by General Tonic at 7:44 AM on April 5, 2011


I wonder what the impact of these kinds of programs will be on the perspectives of kids growing up with them. Historically, we couldn't help but see ourselves as the center, until we were explicitly told that we weren't. Even 30 years ago, we had diagrams and photos but not really such a dynamic, flexible tool for... putting us in our place. And most popular discussions about the size of the universe eventually deteriorate into quasi-religious arguments.

And I think that's almost defensive-- invoking God reinforces our importance in the universe-- and we just can't help it when we talk about large distances. But as kids grow up with this, will their perspectives be larger? Maybe this will delay the time before their brains have to pull a Spinoza.
posted by TheLastPsychiatrist at 8:33 AM on April 5, 2011


.... their brains have to pull a Spinoza.

I am simultaneously confused and intrigued. Also too lazy to research this myself. Details?
posted by benito.strauss at 8:05 AM on April 6, 2011


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