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'Explore the Galaxy' lets you travel across the Milky Way from the comfort of your browser

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Explore the Galaxy
Explore the Galaxy

Google's Chrome Experiments have long provided users with in-browser distractions that simultaneously show off the power of HTML 5, Javascript, and other open web technologies, but a new one that arrived today is definitely one of our favorites. "Explore the Galaxy" lets you zoom all the way in on the Sun and a number of other nearby stars and then click, drag, and scroll your way across the entire Milky Way galaxy. It's a visual treat that really drives home the vastness of outer space that simultaneously fills your brain with knowledge — clicking on the 87 stars closest to Earth will pull up quick Wikipedia-sourced descriptions for each.

The spectacle is accompanied by a short clip of appropriately epic-sounding music from Mass Effect composer Sam Hulick. The whole site is a bit of a mind job, and while we wish we could scroll away from the cluster of 100,000 stars that the Chrome Experiment focuses on, you can still scroll out and see the entire Milky Way, and then smoothly zoom right back in to our own solar system. It's quite the satisfying experience, but beware — chances are good your fans will kick on once you start zooming around.