View the universe in 3d
June 22, 2005 5:49 PM   Subscribe

Ever have trouble visualizing how the solar system is put together, how the orbits work, how everything is positioned relative to everything else? This site helps you see how we think it all fits together.
posted by Fozzie (16 comments total)
Pretty fun.
posted by interrobang at 6:23 PM on June 22, 2005

Very cool, thanks!
posted by tr33hggr at 6:24 PM on June 22, 2005

Awesome, thanks!
posted by blendor at 6:35 PM on June 22, 2005

Thats cool - but... I got this game a few months back called "Nexus: The Jupiter Incident," a complicated space-based tactical RTS, and it has the most fascinating and convincing space-scape I've ever seen. Here are some screenshots. (Hope my blog doesnt die but I wanted to share how nice it looks.) It's totally smooth, totally beautiful, and probably even a little bit accurate. Even funner, you can zoom out all the way to the galaxy view and zoom in on a number of fictional systems as well. Basically its awesome, but the game was super, SUPER hard.

This is great for a 10 second flash download though for sure. thanks for reminding me to finish that game...
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 6:36 PM on June 22, 2005

It's actually shockwave, not flash. (Which doesn't matter much, unless macromedia doesn't make the plugin for your operating system)
posted by fvw at 6:49 PM on June 22, 2005

This is a pretty damn cool. And if you're not careful, you just might learn something.

Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything has a whole chapter on the size of the universe and the relationship of planets and stars to earth. It was so fascinating that I actually got a little excited about learning more about the solar system, which is something that had previously not interested me very much. I wish when I was in school somebody could have explained such complex issues in such a fun and easy to comprehend way. If I had that book and this website when I was younger it could've made me a science nerd.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 6:57 PM on June 22, 2005

Whoa... Epsilon Eridan-C (orbiting a star 10 light years from us0 has an orbit of 280 years!
Really cool link by the way.
posted by Citizen Premier at 7:49 PM on June 22, 2005

Very cool. I could never really grasp the relative sizes of things till I went to the astronomy exhibit at the Museum of Natural History in NYC. Our sun is very very big compared to us, and the universe is even bigger...
posted by muddgirl at 8:41 PM on June 22, 2005

Celestia is pretty much the alpha and omega when it comes to astronomy visualization.
posted by gwint at 9:22 PM on June 22, 2005

I have to second gwint's recommendation of Celestia. Truly an amazing planetarium program that enables you to easily view our solar system from any vantage point. You can even speed up and slow down time, making it easy to see the rotational mechanics of the planets and moons.

Check out the Screenshot Gallery for some of the eye-candy, but those stills don't hold a candle to actually zooming around inside Celestia.
posted by johnnyace at 11:06 PM on June 22, 2005

Wouldn't it be awesome if Celestia could be incorporated with Google satalite maps, and be able to zoom from a far galaxy to your front porch.
posted by Balisong at 11:13 PM on June 22, 2005

Nice post - I fear I did learn something.
posted by Staggering Jack at 11:28 PM on June 22, 2005

It's shockwave, alright. Doesn't care for my Firefox OSX setup. Or maybe it likes it TOO much. For some reason it chows down on my processor cycles, to the point of almost freezing my mahcine. Mac heads be ye warned.
posted by squirrel at 1:11 AM on June 23, 2005

AWESOME. But I thought astronomers had discovered another star system with a terrestrial planet. Oh well. The link rocked anyways. But should all of these systems say n "known" planets? Just because we haven't yet seen terrestrial planets around a certain star doesn't meant there not there... right? Or are the detection methods good enough now to rule out the existence of "small" planets like ours?
posted by mhh5 at 1:33 AM on June 23, 2005

oh, here's that rocky planet...
posted by mhh5 at 1:43 AM on June 23, 2005

I am using Firefox in OSX and this doesn't give me any trouble at all.
posted by sindark at 12:52 PM on June 23, 2005

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