Monday, January 5, 2009

The Neave Planetarium

Ever since I was a little kid I had a fascination for the extra-terrestrial. Comets, meteors, stars, all lay within the boundaries of my interests. Not a lot has changed up to today, except for the fact that supernovas, black holes and wormholes have been added to the list.

The universe is an awesome place. But that's not what this post is about since it's titled The Neave Planetarium. Well, it's about the universe for a little bit then.

A planetarium is a place where the skies are projected onto a roof (or other surface). In other words, a planetarium is a place where you can take a gander at the skies without having to stand outside in the middle of the night (and maybe getting a cold). Of course a planetarium can never exceed 'the real thing', still they're very useful for showing future (or past) positions of celestial bodies (since you can't show your calculations in the real sky).

Having said that, imagine what would happen if everyone got instant access to a planetarium from any location. If that would be possible you could check what interesting objects are visible in your sky tonight.
Here comes the good news, the access has already been made possible. With The Neave Planetarium. Paul Neave is someone who has got a tremendous passion for web development. Check out his website, it's packed full of funny and interesting widgets. Including a planetarium.
Now you might say that Google shipped an alike feature in the latest revision of Google Earth but the beauty of Neave's version is that it's quiet minimalistic and very easy to use. With one click you're changing your view and with a few other clicks you're looking at sky alignments that lay in the far future.
As a bonus Neave also included information about the different objects we can observe (name, distance and constellation for example).

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