Awe-Inspiring Interactive 3D Model of the Solar System

We turned off the lights and switched to the biggest mon­i­tor in the house, to get the full plan­e­tar­i­um effect of this won­der­ful web­site. It’s called the Solar Sys­tem Scope, and gives you a chance to observe space from with­in it, rather than duti­ful­ly study­ing it in a text­book or on a screen.

Click­ing on the tele­scope icon to the left lets you tog­gle between three dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives:  The helio­cen­tric view, with the plan­ets and stars spin­ning around you; the panoram­ic view, which repli­cates the feel­ing of watch­ing the skies from the Green­wich obser­va­to­ry; and, since after all we are the cen­ter of the uni­verse, the geo­cen­tric view, which puts the rest of the cos­mos firm­ly in their place, orbit­ing the earth.

In a sec­tion called “What’s Next” the site’s cre­ators (who are you, mys­tery design­ers?) tell us that they are work­ing on a kid-friend­ly ver­sion of the site as well, but  we’re not sure that’s even nec­es­sary.  When we let a curi­ous 8‑year-old try it out ear­li­er today, it took us about an hour to get our com­put­er back.

via Metafil­ter

Sheer­ly Avni is a San Fran­cis­co-based arts and cul­ture writer. Her work has appeared in Salon, LA Week­ly, Moth­er Jones, and many oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. You can fol­low her on twit­ter at @sheerly.

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