Google Chrome is once again making a name for itself as the go-to browser for neat stuff, weird toys, and all kinds of stupid browser tricks that are kind of awesome. The latest gizmo to be added to Chrome’s toy chest is 100,000 Stars, a three-dimensional guided tour of stars throughout the Milky Way. Whether you’re looking for a better way to get a sense of your place in our incomprehensibly vast universe or just looking to kill some time between meetings, we highly recommend checking this thing out today.
Clicking on any star on the map will take you to a closeup of that star, as well as an elegantly done up version of its Wikipedia page, so you know exactly what you’re looking at. Closing the page offers you a look at a 3-D, navigable artist’s rendition of the star, with the option for bring up a temperature meter to give you a sense of exactly how hot the star you’re looking at is, though those temperatures do tend to range from “very hot” to “of course it’s insanely hot, it’s a star.” There’s also a deep sense of satisfaction to be found in pointing at a star and being taken to it, though it helps if you do it while saying “Computer, set course for Alpha Cephei.” Seriously, give it a shot. We couldn’t tell you of a better way to simulate the sensation of being at the helm of the Enterprise to be found on the Internet, and trust us, we’ve looked.
Nitpickers will note that the project doesn’t actually allow you to access data on 100,000 stars, but there are plenty of celestial bodies on hand to keep you nice and busy when you should probably be filling out a spreadsheet for work or something. We would point out that filling out a spreadsheet, however happy it might make your boss, is demonstrably less fun than grabbing this interactive galaxy map by a corner and spinning it like a globe. Having spent most of our morning doing exactly that, we are something of authorities on the matter.
We’ve had particular fun learning more about binary star systems this morning, like Epsilon Sagitarrii and Gliese 570, home to one of the most scientifically exciting exoplanets discovered to date. Mostly, though, these systems of multiple stars are just a ton of fun to goof around with and watch orbit around a browser window. Remember, this is only available in a Chrome browser window, though, so you’ll have to download the browser to play around with it if you haven’t already.
- The ability to rock out with your friends in an Internet band is pretty neat, too
- This wandering planet has no star to orbit, it goes where it wants
- Let the Easter Egg hunt begin! We want to see Space Core out there somewhere
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