Oh, the wonders of the internet. There’s so much buried treasure out there that it’s impossible to find it all… which is why the Internet is Beautiful subreddit on Reddit is such a great resource. People head there (somewhat infrequently, sadly) to dump fun and interesting sites they find around the web, and this incredible site built by programmer and designer Charlie Hoey definitely fits the bill.
Using publicly available data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia satellite, Hoey built an accurate 3D representation of a huge chunk of the Milky Way galaxy. In total, there are more than 2 million stars represented in his 3D model. Hoey then used torrent technology to create a 3D simulation of the galaxy that is accessible right from within a web browser.
On the site, which is available at this link, users can pan and zoom through the entire galaxy, all the way up until they reach the sun. Stars are represented by white pixels, and the sun is a large white ball at the center of the model. The orbits of both Saturn and Earth within our Solar System are also noted on the site, giving users a better idea of the scale we’re dealing with here.