Science-- there's something for everyone

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Just for fun: Explore the Universe with NASA

Want to take a virtual tour of the universe from the comfort of your home? The helpful folks at NASA have made that possible with a suite of incredible programs called 'Eyes on...'. My family and I attended a lecture by Kevin Hussey, one of the producers of these tour de force visualizations, and we were blown away with the possibilities.

You can start with Eyes on the Earth to explore Earth’s life signs (carbon monoxide levels, temperature, etc) or to watch our many satellites traveling around us. Move on to Eyes on the Solar System to see any part of our solar system from any vantage point. Finally, move way out across the universe with Eyes on Exoplanets.

Everything is accurate for both scale and time. Satellites and planets move at their actual speed (you can speed them way up if you like, but then everything else is speeded up by the same amount). No matter where you look, you’ll see a real time visualization with everything in the correct position and of the right size relative to your vantage point. You can move forward or backward in time to see how things looked at precise moments in history.

I could go on and on without scratching the surface or doing these incredible programs justice, but this is really something you should play with yourself. I will leave you with one more thing: you can make your own 3D effects with the Spacecraft 3D app. on your phone or tablet. Here's the Hubble floating above my carpet: