Planetfinder allows users to browse through
the data base of star systems with known
planets in a compelling 3D interface.. The
systems can be filtered based on a variety
of criteria (solar mass, stars visible from
earth, etc.). Users can even (and this is
the cool part), zoom into a chosen system
and view the planets as they orbit the star.
Planetfinder is now being used by NASA's
Planetquest Site under the name 3D New Worlds
Atlas. We are currently working on version
How to use:
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This project was not an original idea by
any means. The idea originated from the
people from NASA's PlanetQuest website.
They were looking for a visual interface
to their database of stars. Sounds like
a great project, but after the initial discussion
the long wait for funding began.
I decided to create my own PlanetFinder,
to run as a discreet application. What interested
me most was the technological challenge.
Everyting in PlanetFinder is generated from
an external database of stars. With the
exception of a few graphics everything is
procedurally generated, geometry, textures
The result is an online application that
has an extremely small footprint, around
Currently all of the star position data
is accurate based on PlanetQuest's New World
The good news is that NASA funding has
come through and the PlanetQuest Site will
have it's own planet finding tool.