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3D Universe Theater

2D Sky maps are a bit boring. That is why Charlie Hoey decided to create a website with a real 3D representation of some 2 million stars.

 The Gaia satellite (an ESA project) orbits beyond the moon and is carefully mapping the 3D position of every point of light it sees. Mr Hoey took the data and used WebGL to create his 3D Universe theater.

Try the 3D Universe theater here under (a strong graphic card is needed).

3DUniverse 640px

The Gaia Mission

Launched in December 2013, Gaia is destined to create the most accurate map yet of the Milky Way. By making accurate measurements of the positions and motions of stars in the Milky Way, it will answer questions about the origin and evolution of our home galaxy. The first intermediate data release, containing among other things three-dimensional positions and two-dimensional motions of a subset of two million stars, demonstrates that Gaia’s measurements are as precise as planned, paving the way to create the full map of one billion stars to be released towards the end of 2017.

The Gaia Gigapixel Camera

ESA's Gaia mission will produce an unprecedented 3D map of our Galaxy by mapping, with exquisite precision, the position and motion of a billion stars. The key to this is the billion-pixel camera at the heart of its dual telescope. This animation illustrates how the camera works. 

Browse the 3D Universe Data

Try the 3D Universe theater.

Source: Hackaday.