Seeing stars: Google visualises the galaxy

16 : 11 : 2012 Google : Bjork : Biophilia

International – Google’s Data Arts Team, headed by creative director Aaron Koblin, has released a 3D visualisation of our immediate stellar neighbourhood and its place in the Milky Way.

The 100,000 Stars project is hosted on the Chrome Experiments website, which invites programmers to share innovative designs. It uses data from Yale University, the European Space Agency and other sources to plot the location and temperature of nearly 120,000 stars. Users can manipulate the field in three dimensions, while zooming in for close-ups of 87 stars paired with data from Wikipedia.

The project takes advantage of WebGL, a new JavaScript web technology that enables browsers to display complex 2D and 3D renderings without the need to install any additional software or plug-ins.

Artists and brands are increasingly using 3D visualisations as a novel navigation technique. We noticed Björk using similar galactic renderings in our Innovate story about her app-integrated Biophilia album.

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