2,000,000 Stars from the Gaia Satellite

October 2016 | By Charlie Hoey


The first batch of data provided by the ESA's Gaia satellite contained sky positions for 1 billion stars, and clocked in at about 180GB compressed. I've distilled it down to the calculate the 3D coordinates of just over 2 million stars, with our sun small and unremarkable at the center. From outside it appears as a chaotic pile of stars, but from inside star clusters and the great bands of the Milky Way are clearly visible.The data file is still 24MB, so you will see stars appear one group at a time as it loads. This file is distributed peer to peer using webtorrent.js where available, or downloaded directly from my server if that fails after about 5 seconds.

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