Switzerland unveils an electronic program that allows virtual visits to the universe

Switzerland unveils an electronic program that allows virtual visits to the universe
Switzerland unveils an electronic program that allows virtual visits to the universe

Researchers at a top Swiss university launched an experimental program on Tuesday that allows virtual visits across the universe, including the International Space Station, the Moon, Saturn and exoplanets above galaxies and beyond.

Dubbed the Virtual Reality World Project (Verop), the program combines what researchers call the largest data set in the universe to create “3D panoramic visualizations” of space.

Software engineers, astrophysicists and experimental museology experts have gathered at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne to create a virtual map that can be viewed through individual VRs, full immersion systems such as “panoramic cinema” with 3D glasses, and dome-shaped screens Celestial, or only through a two-dimensional computer.

Director of the Astrophysics Laboratory at the Lausanne School, Jean-Paul Kneipp, said: “The novelty of this project put all the available data in one frame, where the universe can be viewed at different scales, whether around the Earth, around the solar system, or at the level of the Milky Way, to see the universe. Until the beginnings, or what we call the Big Bang.”

It’s like Google Earth, but it’s specific to the universe. Computer algorithms produce tens of terabytes of data, producing images that can appear as close as a meter, or nearly infinitely far, as if you were sitting and looking at the entire visible universe.

The program aims to attract a wide range of visitors, both scientists – looking to visualize the data they continue to collect – or the general public looking to explore the sky at least virtually.

The program has not been finalized at this time, and the trial version cannot be run on a Mac computer.

The program collects information from eight databases containing at least 4,500 known exoplanets, tens of millions of galaxies, hundreds of millions of space objects, and more than 1.5 billion light sources from the Milky Way alone.

But when it comes to potential data, the sky is literally the limit, as future databases could include asteroids in our solar system or nebulae, and pulsars farther into the galaxy.

(Associated Press)

 
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