Gaia star data with D3 – part 2 – prettier, faster

Welcome back! (if that statement isn’t appropriate you’ll want to check out part 1 first: Gaia star data with D3 – part 1). We are going to make everything look much better, and then do a couple of optimizations.

Let’s make the sky look more natural, i.e. Black. In the current SVG specification there’s no way to set a background colour, so to work around that we’ll place a rectangle across the whole image.

Continue reading “Gaia star data with D3 – part 2 – prettier, faster”

Gaia star data with D3 – part 1

TL;DR: I’m going to show you how to take a fairly large dataset – in this case the galactic stars – and make some nice visualizations with a JavaScript library called D3. They look great.

Basic view of data.

Did you see the recent news from the ESA Gaia mission? It will eventually give the precise position and motion of one billion stars in our Galaxy (which is actually “only” one percent of the stellar population!). An initial release of data happened on 13th September 2016 and included the position, motion and distance of two million stars.

I wanted to take this data and play around with it and I like to play around with data with the help of D3. This is a web based visualisation tool, which unfortunately is restricted by the capabilities of today’s browsers. This means I’ve had to reduce the data points, however, I suspect we can still get some nice results.

Continue reading “Gaia star data with D3 – part 1”

Popular Science’s 137 years

The magazine Popular Science holds a remarkable piece of history spanning 137 years covering science progress and future predictions back till 1873.

To celebrate this years birthday they have partnered with google to bring you their complete back catalogue, something like 1500 individual magazines. Each has been scanned to digital and appears as it was published – original artworks, adverts and text. To easily find what you are intersted in the entire collection has been fully text search enabled.

Continue reading “Popular Science’s 137 years”

Stardust success?

The Stardust project, four years since the probe landed (or more accurately since the probe crashed slowly), the Stardust@home project has, no, might have, actually found some interstellar material – ancient material older than the Solar System.

I say maybe as it’s not been confirmed yet. Of course, it’s also possible it’s a publicity stunt to get interest back in the old project…

I joined the project back just before I first blogged about it back in Jan 2006, still I hope it is genuine, and maybe I’ll dig out my old login details too!

Galaxy Zoo Two

It’s back, and better than ever before. Now you can help classify galaxies in even more detail, but still with the excitement of exploring the cosmos and helping expend human knowledge further.

Take part here.

But to see some great evidence of why it’s helpful to take part see this page. It shows galaxies never before seen and certainly not categorised neatly divided up into lots of categories. The “anything odd” section has some really interesting objects in. More info from the Galaxy zoo blog here.

See also: Human computing power. (2008-10-20), Intergalatic Explorer. (2007-07-13)

Mars goes Google.

The beautiful Google Earth program has gone Martian. The planet Mars is now explorable in full 3D (not just an overlay).

See Olympus Mons rise above the distant horizon or fly down Valles Marines in a full 3D projection. You can even follow the landers progresses, and view some of the panaromic high resolution shots just as the rovers Spirit or Opportunity saw them.

This video from the official “unoffical” Google Earth blog clearly shows of some of the best features:

Just download Google Earth, click on the planet button in the toolbar and select Mars. Some informative pictures here too:

Martian trippers enjoy storm free journey

Great news for all Martian wannabes.

The trip to Mars can be made much safer with the realisation of a “Force Field”. This will drastically cut down the problems the solar wind can cause, especially when a solar storm occurs.

The high speed particles flowing from the Sun during a Solar Storm can cause serious medical problems for the astronauts, so using technology developed during Fusion research it was found that a “magnetic bubble” can be used to envelope the spaceship and all and protect them in the same way the Earth is protected from the Solar Winds.

More information can be found here:

Becoming an intergalatic explorer 2 – Visit the zoo

I’m sure you’ll remember my last post about becoming an intergalactic explorer, well now there’s a new project to help you explore the cosmos but in a similar way to the last one.

The project is:

You’ll be rummaging through the Slaon Digital sky survey – a huge database of galactic images. Your mission is to find the images that look like galaxies then pick a category for them. Most of these images haven’t been seen by anyone else.

THe image above is an example. it looks pretty good, and I’ve chosen an anti-clockwise spiral. (I hope you agree…)

Have fun and find something interesting…

Here’s a few nice looking galaxies I’ve come across:
One, two, three and four.