LCOGT’s Virtual Sky

February 28, 2011 — Leave a comment

Stuart Lowe (LCOGT, Astronomy Blog) has created a wonderfully simple in-browser planetarium called Virtual Sky, using javascript and the HTML5 canvas element. This is a great, straightforward implementation that should be pretty easy-to-use for most people running a website.

Here you see the sky above my house in Witney, Oxfordshire at the exact time of writing. The script lets you toggle items such as constellation lines, planets, orbits, various map projections and more. You can also have the script display the current sky over a location. There is a simple form that lets you generate the correct javascript, to help get you started. (If you’re looking for a simple lat/long finder there’s one here: http://www.satsig.net/maps/lat-long-finder.htm)

I’m sure that LCOGT and Stuart would appreciate feedback (e.g. can they build-in a geocoder to save doing a lat/long lookup?). This is a really solid, and smooth first version – but if Chromoscope is anything to go by, there will be more features down the road (no pressure, Stuart!).

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