21 January 2010
Omicron Centauri – end of the line
Harry Beck created a classic when he designed the London Underground map. I don’t think he ever imagined it would be used to provide a schematic of something far, far larger.
The computational sociology fellow Samuel Arbesman designed the Milky Way Transit Authority transit map in order to display the "vast and complex interconnections" of the Milky Way in an accessible and familiar way.
"This map is an attempt to approach our galaxy with a bit more familiarity than usual and get people thinking about long-term possibilities in outer space," he said. "Hopefully it can provide as a useful shorthand for our place in the Milky Way, the important sights and make inconceivable distances a bit less daunting.
Each line on the map corresponds to an arm of the galaxy, and the "stations" are actual places in their locations albeit stars, nebula and other astronomical objects (including the Hamptons???)
Arbesman admitted he was neither an astronomer or astrophysicist and acknowledged his work leaves room for improvement. He welcomed comments, suggestions or criticisms.
I’m sure some adjustments are necessary but I love the idea of representing something as vast as our galaxy in such a simple and easily digested manner.