Today I’m releasing version 0.800b of Gaia Sky, probably the last beta version before version one, which will come in late summer with GDR1 (Gaia data release 1).
This time around we bring on loads of improvements, bug fixes and new features. Here is a comprehensive change log:
- Reimplemented star render algorithm, now all stars are shaded as points in the GPU.
- New Milky Way rendering with 40K particles and 100 nebulae.
- Three graphics quality settings, low, normal and high, which have an impact in the size of textures, the complexity of the models and the quality of the graphical effects.
The Gaia Sky software, former Gaia Sandbox, (and in particular its WebGL ports) has been chosen by ESA to be Gaia Image of the Week. The WebGL version includes a spinoff –called A Window to Gaia: The Focal Plane – which displays in real time the Tycho-2 stars that are being observed by Gaia. The WebGL ports have problems with mobile browsers and also with Safari, but they should work well with Google Chrome and Firefox (the former is significantly faster than the latter).
I have been working hard these last couple of months and today I’m proud to announce the release of the second beta version of the Gaia Sandbox, the open source, free, astronomy sandbox focused on the Gaia mission.
Today we have published the first public BETA version (v0.703b) of the Gaia Sandbox, a real-time, 3D, astronomy visualisation application that runs on Linux, Windows and MacOSX systems. Its main purpose is to serve as an outreach platform to ESA’s Gaia mission, and it is free (as in freedom and gratis). It is also open source under the LGPL, so go try it out!
Today I want to talk a bit about an initiative that I’ve been following for quite a long time now and I think deserves some attention. I’m talking about Astronomy Cast. Astronomy Cast, in their own words, takes a fact-based journey through the cosmos as it offers listeners weekly discussions on astronomical topics ranging from planets to cosmology. Fraser Cane and Dr. Pamela Gay elaborate a high-quality podcast each week, where they discuss in depth about several astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology and particle physics topics. The span of their talks is just astounding, and they really have a gift for explaining complicated concepts in a very straightforward manner.