This is an old project that I’ve had in the back of my mind, and it’s taking on a new form in this latest version: using W3’s computational and visualization capabilities to illustrate current astronomical events.
We’ve already introduced the Artemis 1 mission and the ability to follow the Orion capsule in real-time. Ultimately, I’d like to do something much more complex, reproducing all phases of a mission’s life, from launch, trajectory corrections, to accessing scientific data. However, there are many obstacles to overcome. First, there are technical challenges (such as improving object appearance and adding more complex effects like projected shadows and metallic reflections), but even more difficult is gaining access to information regarding maintenance operations, orientation, engine ignitions, and data acquisition. This would require contact with a team member, which is not at all easy. But after all, I live about 50 kilometers from Madrid’s Deep Space Network… A lead to follow?
But the main feature of this version is the introduction of a new symbol (the letter i in red) indicating a link to an online article on theconversation.com.
These high-quality popular science articles are written by astronomers or physicists, and I am reproducing them here with their permission. Many thanks to all these researchers who devote part of their time to informing the general public about the current state of research in astrophysics.
This version also fixes an issue with the Gaia EDR3 catalog, which was no longer accessible due to the URL change of the Astronomical Data Center of Strasbourg.
And finally… W3 is nearly 100,000 lines of C++ code that I maintain alone. It’s more than 3 GB of astronomical data stored on two servers that power the software. The program is capable of displaying over a billion objects. So, you can encourage me to continue by purchasing the full version, or by leaving a positive comment on Google Play, etc.
Thank you for your support!