Google’s Interactive Starmap Will Eat Your Day Whole

By David Wharton | 8 years ago


Want to wave goodbye to any chance of productivity for the rest of the day? Then step right up to 100,000 Stars, an interactive starmap from those mad geniuses at Google’s Creative Lab team. The map allows you to click, scroll, and otherwise explore a (mostly) accurate representation of our cosmic “neck of the woods.” It’s gorgeous, it’s fascinating, and it will absolutely force you to cancel any meetings you had planned for the rest of the day.

Here’s Google’s official description of the map:

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 experiment makes use of Google Chrome’s support for WebGL, CSS3D, and Web Audio. Music was generously provided by Sam Hulick, who video game fans may recognize as a composer for the popular space adventure series, Mass Effect.

Oh Google, you already would have won my heart with the starmap alone. But then you have to take things a step further and hire the brilliant Sam Hulick to write an accompanying score? That’s just dirty pool, sir, but I love you for it.

Aside from giving you a jaw-dropping sense of scale by allowing you to zoom from an overall galactic view all the way down to our own little blue marble, 100,000 stars also provides detailed information about our interstellar neighbors. Going back to the Mass Effect tie-in again, it’s basically a way, way more detailed — and accurate — version of that game’s beautiful starmap. Just keep an eye out for Reapers while you’re seeing what’s out there.

Really, there’s nothing else I can tell you about 100,000 Stars that the map itself can’t do much more elegantly, so click on over there already. One proviso, though: you’ll need to have the Chrome browser to use the map, so click over and grab it if you haven’t already.

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