Zoom around the vast Milky Way in a browser

Forget about Google Earth and check out Google Galaxy. A Google Chrome Experiment lets you surf around our corner of the universe without all those years of pesky NASA training.

Just one of the many views available in 100,000 Stars. Google

In the grand scheme of things, it's fair to say our solar system is very tiny.

You might especially agree with that statement after viewing 100,000 Stars, a Google Chrome Experiment Web page that gives anyone the chance surf around the our slice of the universe from the comfort of their Internet browser. Spacesuit and oxygen supply optional.

After a few minutes of playing with 100,000 Stars, I zoomed out past the Oort cloud, Alpha Centauri, and the constellations -- barely able to see our tiny speck of existence in comparison to the overall size of the Milky Way's 200 billion to 400 billion stars. I suddenly remembered extreme skydiver Felix Baumgartner's humble quote before he dove 24 miles above the Earth : "Sometimes you have to be up really high to see how small you are."

Google Chrome Experiments aggregate a virtual gallery of interactive projects that use open technologies. According to the official description of 100,000 Stars, "some space enthusiasts" at Google tapped WebGL, CSS3D, and Web Audio software to create this stargazing experience.

The crisp imagery derives from a variety of sources, including NASA, ESA, and illustrations on Wikipedia. Sam Hulick -- a composer known for his work on the Mass Effect video game series -- created the single song that accompanies 100,000 Stars.

About the author

Crave contributor Christopher MacManus regularly spends his time exploring the latest in science, gaming, and geek culture -- aiming to provide a fun and informative look at some of the most marvelous subjects from around the world.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Show Comments Hide Comments
Latest Galleries from CNET
A roomy range from LG (pictures)
This plain GE range has all of the essentials (pictures)
Sony's 'Interview' heard 'round the world (pictures)
Google Lunar XPrize: Testing Astrobotic's rover on the rocks (pictures)
CNET's 15 favorite How Tos of 2014
CNET's 15 most popular How Tos of 2014