Tuesday, January 31, 2006

3D maps and moving orbital diagrams

Wow! Truly stumbled across this surfing the web. It started out that I was "window" shopping, considering what to get with an Amazon gift certificate. DVDs or music CDs would be nice. But a book or two might be good. I briefly searched on what Samuel R. Delany books they had.

Then I thought I should try to get some new hard SF or cyberpunk, as I've moved toward this subgenre, enjoying Gibson, Stephenson, Rucker, etc. In Yahoo!, I found Chris Moriaty's web site, with blogs. which is very interesting. He's into complexity theory! Cool guy.

But before the seach on "hard SF," I looked for the Bakka bookstore. Right, they moved back to Queen St. As per usual, when I searched in Yahoo! and then jumped into Bakka, I did it by right-clicking and opening a new, separate window or tab. Back in the Yahoo! search results, I noticed a lot of references to Canadian SF authors, including Robert J. Sawyer. He too has got a pretty extensive blog.

Whereupon I stumbled across the entry titled "Excellent resources for hard-SF writers" (which I misread at first as for readers...). He mentions SolStation.com and holy cow! They have this super-neat Java applet that can be used to create a 3D representation of stars (or moving orbital diagrams). It gives a very strong sense of the dimensionality of space. Very, very cool.

Check out the maps of the nearby stars to us, like Alpha Centauri. Sweet.

And there are some fascinating pages regarding the origins of the Universe and the large galactic and intergalactic structures.

And check out the moons around Jupiter. Cricky!

The solar system orbits is very nice too. They threw in an asteroid and a comet too.

(On a side note, I might have finally found a tool to help me create a navigateable structure or interface for a strange, personal project... But that's a whole other topic/blog/web site!)