Everything in space is moving. Galaxies collide and merge, massive clouds of gas migrate, and asteroids, comets, and rogue planets zip around and between it all. And in our own Solar System, the planets follow their ancient orbits.
Now a new data visualization shows us just how much our view from Earth changes in two years, as the orbits of the planets change the distance between us and our neighbours.
Galaxies aren’t spread evenly throughout space. They exist in groups, clusters, and superclusters. Our own Milky Way galaxy exists in an impossibly vast structure called the Laniakea supercluster. Laniakea was defined in 2014, and it contains over 100,000 galaxies.
Now a team of astronomers have discovered another immense feature beyond Laniakea, called the South Pole Wall.
Are you ready for a fascinating virtual experience? Then check out “Eyes on the Solar System”! This clever compilation of visualizations and real images takes you on a journey that’s sure to keep you entertained for hours!
If you’ve had the chance to use high dollar astronomy software, you’ll appreciate this free program. Inside is a 3-D environment full of real NASA mission data which lets you explore the cosmos from the comfort of your computer. You can choose exploring an asteroid, scouring around a planet or taking a look at Earth from above. Fly with NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft or join Cassini. You can even see the entire solar system moving in real time! Just check out a very small part of the features in this introductory video…
There’s so much more there, too. Imagine the possibilities of Kepler, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Spitzer Space Telescope! Move forward and backward in time… You’re in command of this space journey! According to the developers, the awesome modeling team is currently working on a number of spacecraft models. In the near future, expect to see finished models of Phoenix (cruise), Mars Exploration Rovers (cruise), Mars Science Laboratory (cruise), Mars Odyssey, and Mars Express. There are many spacecraft in the pipeline, so be patient!
While NASA’s “Eyes on the Solar System” is compatible with Windows and Mac OS X, the partially Java-scripted format has a certain dependence on what browser is used. Firefox is recommended for smoothest operation, but it also works with IE and Safari. (I personally use Opera and encountered no problems – but avoid Chrome.) Other than that? Grab and comfy seat and take flight!