The Whole Universe in the Palm of Your Hand


Also called "The Fingerprint of God", scientists on NASA's WMAP project produced a high resolution image of the subtle differences in the cosmic background radiation. These fluxuations represent the distribution of all the matter in the universe. I wanted to be able to see this map from the "outside" and contacted them to help produce a VRML model that would allow me to examine the data mapped onto a sphere. The above image shows a screenshot of an interactive VRML model you can use to view this sphere from all sides. Clicking on the image will take you to the 3D model. Note that you will need a VML browser plug-in to view the file. The Cortona plug-in is one of the best. In this model the Earth is at the center of the sphere. The model also contains a second viewpoint you can use to view the model from the center.