May 26, 2008, Very Short List: To boldly go where no Wikipedia has gone before
Teleportation and traveling at hyperspeed would be fabulous, but even when we were children, such science-fiction staples struck us as probably, well, impossible. Still, we always imagined that someday we really could have the galactic maps that pop up at the touch of a button in shows like Star Trek. And now, thanks to the Website WikiSky, we can realize our dreams of zooming in on Betelgeuse in glorious detail just by pointing our cursor and commanding, “Make it so!”
Using images compiled from ultra-high-powered telescopes, WikiSky presents an ever-growing visual map of the universe, one that users can update and modify just as they can the more earth-centric Wikipedia. Maybe you’ll appreciate the detailed information, but if you’re like us, you’ll spend most of your time simply gaping at the site’s highlights (helpfully indicated to one side of the home page), such as a magnificent nebula that’s been aptly dubbed the Eye of God.
The Web can’t transport you to deep space (yet!), but staring at close-ups of the sublime Horsehead Nebula is the next-best thing. Happy Memorial Day!