Over two years ago, Michael Chang with the Data Arts Team at Google created an amazing interactive called 100,000 Stars as a part of Chrome Experiments. It was a case study in creative coding. It also turned out beautifully.
In 100,000 Stars (feel free to click out of here and go explore) you are treated to a fluid and informative view of the heavens that surround our solar system in all directions. But you don’t have to explore this vastness on your own. Click on the play button on the top left of the page and the interactive whisks you along on an automated tour.
Chang used freely available data on the positions of 119,000 stars “near” our sun and went though a number of coding steps far beyond me (he explains the entire process here) to apply the neat lens flares and galactic backdrops. The whole experience is visually satisfying and actually taught me something.
The gorgeous and somewhat haunting sci-fi background music helps too. So start exploring!