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.
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: "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.