Category Archives: Online resources


Chromoscope is a popular online resource that we developed in 2009 for a Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition stand about the Herschel and Planck satellites. There’s a compact version below, but you can see it fullscreen at

The team behind Chromoscope was myself, Stuart Lowe (then at University of Manchester) and Robert Simpson (then here in Cardiff) – though most of the hard work (the coding) was by Stuart. It was a huge hit (forcing us to move the image tiles to Amazon AWS to prevent our own servers falling over), and in the first couple of years had around 2 million visitors!

The main aim of Chromscope has always been a relatively lightweight website with a very simple interface. One side effect of that is that Chromoscope can’t zoom in too far – in principle it’s possible, but there would be huge amounts of data for us to store and for users to download. There are other websites which can go much, much deeper, such as WikiSky, Google Sky and WorldWide Telescope. These are more powerful, but generally require a faster internet connection.

One of the powers of Chromoscope is its ability to be used for many purposes. That includes displaying other images sets (see Planckoscope, showing Planck all-sky images), and highlighting specific objects (see our Herschel results page, and a few other examples on the Chromoscope blog).