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Figures in the Sky (2018) – Nadieh Bremer

How the star Dubhe is used in constellations of various cultures

A visualization of constellations from 28 sky cultures, based on Stellarium data. It includes focused visualizations of a select number of major stars in the sky, which show overlapping constellation shapes from various sky cultures that include a specific star. The visualization captures how the shapes converge and diverge, and allows users to view the shapes individually. Despite the ambitious aim and scope of the project, I found the lack of cultural contextual information very limiting. It would have been more interesting to be able to view them within a broader sky view, and to learn more about the various mythologies behind the stars and constellation shapes.  (Project link)

a selection of major stars
The Hawaiian constellation skyview

 Never Lost: Polynesian Navigation (2011)

Produced by NASA and Hawaiian collaborators, the project intertwines astronomy, Hawaiian ancestry, and traditional navigation. The project website shows how the ancient Polynesians voyaged across vast expanses of open ocean without maps or compasses by relying on direct observation alone.  While the project’s vast scope and content is compelling, the entirely flash-based website has not aged well over the years. The way the content is structured and presented makes it cumbersome to explore and navigate, and many of the video links are no longer working. The views and interactions provided by the virtual planetarium are also pretty standard and lackluster.  (Project Link)