By Dune Jumper
Space Engine is the Google Earth of outer space.
This free space simulation program lets you explore the universe in three dimensions, from planet Earth to the most distant galaxies. Areas of the known universe are represented using actual astronomical data, while regions uncharted by astronomy are algorithmically generated.
Space Engine is educational because it helps you learn about the universe. Even though it’s not a game, you can have fun flying around and exploring space over unimaginable distances. You can land on any planet, moon or asteroid, and view alien landscapes and celestial phenomena. Watch out for black holes!
Space Engine is in constant touch with the astronomical centers of the world (those that keep watch on the heavens), and the images are updated frequently. You can see newly found objects mentioned on the news appear in the Space Engine program.
Space Engine demonstrates that the sizes of objects and the distances between them are not easily comprehended. For example, it uses the distance from the Earth to the Sun (AU Astronomical Unit) to describe sizes. Some large stars are hundreds of AU in diameter! It uses light years (LY) to describe distances. A light year is the distance that light travels in one year. Some of the objects are a hundred giga-lightyears away!
You can adjust the velocity of your space travel from mere feet per second to millions of light years per second. Traveling a distance that light would traverse in a year in a second is an unimaginable velocity. And yet even at that high speed it takes a long time to reach the farthest edge of known space.
Millions of galaxies, trillions of stars, countless planets – a huge catalog of mapped objects – are all available for exploration in Space Engine!
It’s like Google Earth… for Space.
Download Space Engine for free at http://en.spaceengine.org