Return to Stars


Hi Beautiful!

NOTE: If you can't read this page, hit the refresh button. We are working on a known Web Open Font (WOFF) issue.

Tanagram created SkyBeautiful to share our love of "celestial beauty." Rendered entirely in the browser (there are no services or external databases slowin' us down!), SkyBeautiful is an example of the cutting-edge capabilities of HTML5, CSS3, JQuery, and JSON in partnership with the fine folks at Microsoft, their brand-spanking-new Internet Explorer 9. In addition (we go-on about this in the Site Credits page) we'd like to thank (it never hurts to say thank you more than once and we owe...) the amazing gang at World Wide Telescope, NASA and so many more (we are beside ourselves with guilt) for their generous contributions to this project.

Using the fantastic Hipparcos "New Reduction" data provided by the European Space Agency (ESA) we have created a three-dimensional model of approximately 120,000 of the stars nearest to our sun. That's right, we are rendering tens-of-thousands of "star-points" on your screen, in real-time (not right now!), every time you pan the sky with your greasy mouse-fingers. It's a minor miracle given to you by Microsoft and their compiler-builder rocket-scientists. In the split second before you think about thinking, Internet Explorer 9 converts our ga-jillions of lines of JavaScript and HTML code into a binary application that runs on the very very veeeh-hairy fastest parts of your computer. Neat huh? Thanks Bill!

A ton of gorgeousness for you to explore and share.

~120,000 stars, 84 constellations and 165 "bodies of interest" sparkle in the sky for you to click on and explore. We wrote stories(most of them good), created constellation illustrations, gathered photos and videos from NASA and Microsoft's World Wide Telescope, and if you find something you want to learn more about we provide you with links to the rest of the internet. Not to toot our own horn or anything, we even trained a cricket to chirp with perfect pitch!

Speaking of delicious... err... we hope you are enjoying another brilliant feature that IE9 and most of the other cool browsers will be bringing you very soon. WOFF (which is a TERRIBLE name, we call it "Type-o-licious") or Web Open Font Format has given us the ability to make typographic wonderfulness happen on web pages (I know, right!?!). You might even see a "hanging quote" here-or-there on this site thanks to the brilliant (although frankly a little behind schedule) folks who thought this idea up. If you are viewing this page on a "cool" browser, you are seeing these words via a font called Freight Micro. It is a wonderful serifed font that was designed to look good on your monitor (even if it's old). WOFF even lets that company whose name rhymes with "Poogle" creep around and record all of our thoughts (or whatever). If nothing else, WOFF will keep you type-snob friends quiet while they pretend not to peruse the sites you visit from over your shoulder, and that's all that really matters, right?

Still, with all of these technical advances and research, we have only begun to learn about the universe that surrounds us. Scientists have counted more than 2.5 Million stars and the universe as we know it is defined by the limits of our ability to see (that's why it's round and we're in the middle). Joking aside, we didn't build this thing to rake-in the mega-bucks. No revenue models are going to "harsh your calm." We did it because we like the idea of bringing people together to share stuff that doesn't end up getting someone, errr... bruised. Seriously though, math and astronomy are two of the languages that are common among everyone in every cranny of our tiny earth and we packed a ton of both in here.

A bright future

As SkyBeautiful continues to grow we will be adding more "bodies of interest," and constellations from around the world. We hope to be able to give you the ability to draw and share your own constellations too. We hope you enjoy this experience as much as we do. If you have any questions, or comments, or are just lonely, please use this form to contact us. Please note: The map on this page is for pizza delivery guys only. If you happen to show up on our doorstep... you are welcome. You'll be MORE welcome if you bring pizza. Get it?

A great place to start

SkyBeautiful was designed for everyone. It represents an experience that is fundamental to our humanity. "Oral Tradition," is what the scientists call the stories we share from generation to generation. Our stories teach us how to survive, hope, dream, and succeed. Best of all, our stories entertain us (and we're not easily entertained). If you'd like to learn more about the science of astronomy or our universe, here are some links to Wikipedia that provide an excellent starting point:

You can also find a boat-load of information links from our research on the Site Credits page.

Disclaimer, disclaimer, disclaimer...

We wanted to warn you just in case you were thinking of using SkyBeautiful to plot your way to Neptune that, while our data is based on highly accurate research data, it should not be considered for any purpose other than entertainment. You can have it, really! Just go to our Downloads page and snag yourself a copy of our models or the source data. Just don't come to us when you find yourself surrounded by hot, green amazonion-ish women (or men) on what obviously isn't Neptune with an agenda that is clearly not in your best interest.

Ok, now we're straight. Go have some fun! See if you can find the surprises we've hidden. They are Mostly Harmless.