Google has created an interactive map of our local pocket of the Milky Way. One Hundred Thousand Stars is essentially an accurate 3D simulation augmented with actual imagery and data from NASA and ESA. You can zoom in, out, and around, then pop over to a nearby star for a visit in seconds flat.
If that wasn't cool enough, you can also turn on the "spectral index" to see astronomers' preferred view. This feature shows the color of each star, which is correlated with temperature; blue stars are hotter and younger, while red stars are cooler and older. What are you waiting for? Go play among the stars! [N.B., only works in Google's Chrome browser.]
And now, more science:
- Wormholes are real! No really, actual wormholes made by worms. Biologist Blair Hedges discovered wormholes in European woodcuts that allowed him to reconstruct the evolution of different species of the wood-boring beetle across time and space.
- More beetle news! The latest in biomimicry: Namib Desert beetle inspires design of water bottle that can draw moisture from the air for use in arid, water-scarce regions.
- Crocodiles "scales" are not really scales at all, but CRACKS IN THEIR SKIN created randomly as they grow.
- Ice and organic materials found not on Mars, but on Mercury. Yes, Mercury. Tiny, rocky, closest to the Sun with surface temperatures over 500 degrees, Mercury. [VIDEO]
- Saturn's north pole has a raging storm over 1,000 miles in diameter INSIDE a 15,000 mile wide hexagonal cloud structure. That's a storm you never want to see up close and personal.
- Heard of supermassive black holes? This one is ÜBERmassive: 17 billion times the mass of our Sun! That's over 4,000 times larger than the black hole at the center of our galaxy.
- Last, but not least, watch this STUNNING video of a cheetah running at full speed -- captured at 1200 frames a second. And check out how they hold their head amazingly still at over 60 mph.
Hope that's enough wow to start your weekend. @Summer_Ash.