Feb 01, 2007, SKY NIGHTLY: Sky-Map Site To Show The Beauty Of The Universe To Everybody
Technological progress has altered many of the ways in which humans live, but has done little to change human beings themselves. Man has been trying to find his place in the world for thousands of years. We are still eager to understand our role in the universe and the universe itself. That is why it is hard enough to find a person who would stay indifferent or apathetic to the questions of cosmology. Those questions strike us immediately when we just glance up towards the night sky.
The Universe is breathtaking. Gazing up at the night sky, even without a telescope, we suddenly start matching our Earth standards to the scope of the whole Universe. Anyone who has observed The Milky Way even once is familiar with the feelings of loneliness and defenselessness. Right away, we imagine our tiny planet sailing through the cold black space.
A child who was once being overwhelmed by the unthinkable beauty and grandiosity of the night sky may not become an astronomer but he will definitely become a thinker.
SKY-MAP.ORG – is an attempt to show the beauty of the Universe to everybody – to small children and to their parents, to the amateur astronomer and to the professional astrophysicist.
SKY-MAP.ORG is an interactive information-management system which encompasses the entire outer space. The basic element of our system is a detailed map of the whole star sky that mirrors more than half a billion celestial objects. No additional instructions are necessary to browse the map or change its scale. The process is very easy. By using the smallest scale, you can view the whole star sky at once. Using the largest scale, you can view tiny areas with the most distant and weakest sky objects.
You can browse the sky either in Map-Mode or in SDSS-mode. (SDSS-mode provides real-time photo images of celestial objects). While in the Map Mode, SKY-MAP searches the system database for information about the objects within a specific area. Then SKY-MAP uses this extracted information to automatically create map images. In SDSS-mode, you can observe star clusters, different galaxies, clouds of cosmic dust – formations of new stars, jets of gas erupting from the active core of distant galaxies, the remains of the supernovas’ explosion, among many, many others.
SDSS-mode allows anyone to imagine themselves holding a very powerful telescope in their own hands. And this is true to some extent because a huge 2.5-meter telescope – Apache Point, NM, receives all photo images in real-time that are used in SDSS mode. We make those images available to you by using SDSS service directly. More details can be accessed by visiting www.sdss.org
In either mode, you can simply point your mouse at any sky object and a small pop-up appears displaying the name and a brief description of that object. By clicking on the object, and you instantly have access to detailed information about this star, including articles and different photo images.
You can edit information about different stars by writing your own articles, adding the Internet links or uploading photo images. In doing so, you become an active participant of the project SKY-MAP.ORG
There are other ways to contribute to the development of SKY-MAP.ORG. You can enter the section named “Groups” and create your own group. You will be able to describe your new group, collect or upload miscellaneous materials (articles, links, images…) etc. General articles can be introduced in the section named “Articles”. This forum is opened for discussion. And always remember, that your best friends may very well be your most radical opponents.
Whether you develop your own astronomical Internet resource, the API of SKY-MAP.ORG might be very useful for you. By using this API you can gain access to the map, the objects’ information and SDSS data. Some functionality is already embodied in the API that has not yet had the analogs in the visual part of the system. For example, it is possible to search objects based on different criteria.
SKY-MAP.ORG is a project that has been developing dynamically from the beginning. Our priority for the future development of this website has always been the expansion of the creative possibilities from all visitors to our website. In our opinion, public visitors should be actively involved in the process of the transformation of SKY-MAP.ORG from a simple Internet-resource to a serious database of the Universe.
Our future plans include:
The display of the objects of our Solar system. The ability to add new objects and place them into catalogues. The ability to do more objects’ searches (the search of objects’ sets by multiple criteria) The ability to browse the sky’s areas in different spectra. The automatic match-up of downloaded images to the sky’s objects. The ability for users to add new parameters for the objects. The display (in map mode) of galaxies and other objects aside from stars. Adding other Sky Surveys to the system aside from SDSS.
SKY-MAP.ORG unifies the space’s external beauty, which everyone is able to appreciate, and the scientific data represented in either the popular or the special forms. The ability to browse the map dynamically and change the scale at random demonstrates the unity of the phenomena of the absolutely different scales. This possibility links the whole Universe as one object with its separate constituent elements. These unique properties of SKY-MAP.ORG make this resource very popular to people of all ages, cultures, backgrounds, and occupations. As far-reaching as the novice beginner to the sci-fi enthusiast, or anyone with an interest in the stars. As well, it is possible that the simplicity of the system’s use, which allows imagining oneself as a space ranger, is capable of attracting a child’s attention and interest.