This project uses WebGL to render the scene, so a modern browser is required. Works on IE and Chrome, slight bug on FireFox. It's way cooler if you have a Google Cardboard and a mobile device, but it works with the computer. If you don't have a Cardboard, you can toggle stereo vision off by pressing 'CAMERA - STEREO'.
This project was inspired by an effect astronomers use to measure distance for objects far away. If you're in a train and are looking at mountains far away, you probably have noticed that buildings, fields and trees nearby are moving way faster than the mountains. This effect is called parallax.
To measure the distance between us and some of the new stars they discover, astronomers use that effect on a vast scale, and actually use the orbit of the Earth around the Sun. They take a picture of the star next to other stars of known distance, then wait 6 months until the Earth is on the other side of the Sun. This allows astronomers to use trigonometry to calculate the distance between us and the new star.
But what if we had a space telescope directly at the opposite end of our orbit around the Sun? Sure, we would get the distance of stars immediately instead of having to wait 6 months. What interested me is the potential to see objects around our own Solar system, and see other planets and asteroids as if we had two cameras 6 months apart from each other around the Sun.
This project uses virtual reality to show you the Solar system as if your eyes were directly wired to each of those cameras. You can zoom onto a list of bodies (planets and others), and if you feel adventurous, you can fly around in the solar system.
Technologies and resources
- The code of this project is made in TypeScript, with BabylonJS (WebGL) to render the solar system. Also uses mathjs for some matrix math.
- Some planets have textures, thanks to NASA 3D Resources.
- Coordinates were taken from the HORIZONS system.
License: MIT license (MIT)
Source Code/Project URL: https://github.com/louiscarl/AsteroLens
JPL's Horizons - http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/horizons.cgi
NASA 3D Resources - http://nasa3d.arc.nasa.gov/
BabylonJS - http://www.babylonjs.com/
MathJS - http://www.mathjs.org/