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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Swim Through the Stars

Swim Through the Stars

Author: Reilly Capps/Wednesday, May 7, 2014/Categories: space science

[A screenshot of the galaxy from Google's new 100,000 Stars app.]

The ancients once looked at the configuration of stars in the sky and saw pictures -- "that looks like a bear," or "that looks like a scorpion." This is because the ancients were idiots.

Regular people don't see anything at all, because we have better stuff to do at night, such as watch "Gilmore Girls" and pay people to talk to us over a webcam. 

If you can turn off the webcam, technology gives you a better look at the stars than those old stoned ancients got. Apps for iPhones and Android let you ID the constellations. Google -- when it isn't creepily reading all your emails -- maps the above stuff, on a website and a new experimental Chrome extension that maps 100,000 stars in 3d -- that lets you tilt the Galaxy like you're a god, gives you an idea of where you are in the galaxy, and looks like an outstanding way to swim though the stars and waste massive amounts of time at your computer. 

The main thing that continually surprises me is how far apart the stars are, and how big the universe is. Its more than one light year just to the Oort cloud in our own solar system. So don't try to pop out to Neptune for a gallon of milk. You'll never make it back alive. 
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