Google Earth... For Space (Google Earth to launch new service for stargazers).

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Google Earth... For Space (Google Earth to launch new service for stargazers).

This is very cool! From what the article says and what I have read elsewhere it operates like Google Earth but based on space. You start off with a view of the sky from earth and from there you can zoom in to view various celestial bodies. I can't wait to try this out.


 

 

Google Earth to launch new service for stargazers

Wed Aug 22, 2007 5:57 AM ET

By Kate Holton

LONDON (Reuters) - Popular mapping service Google Earth will launch a new feature called Sky, a "virtual telescope" that the search engine hopes will turn millions of Internet users into stargazers.

Google, which created Google Earth to give Internet users an astronaut's view that can zoom to street level, said the service would be a playground for learning about space.

"Never before has a roadmap of the entire sky been made so readily available," said Dr. Carol Christian of the Space Telescope Science Institute, who co-led the institute's Sky team.

"Sky in Google Earth will foster and initiate new understanding of the universe by bringing it to everyone's home computer."

Like Google Earth, Sky will enable users to float and zoom in on over 100 million individual stars and 200 million galaxies. Users will view the sky as seen from earth.

It has created different layers which will show the life of a star, constellations, high-resolution images provided by the Hubble Space Telescope and a users guide to galaxies.

A backyard astronomy layer lets users click through stars, galaxies and nebulae visible to the eye, binoculars and small telescopes.

The imagery was stitched together from numerous third parties including the Digital Sky Survey Consortium, the United Kingdom Astronomy Technology Centre and the Anglo-Australian Observatory. The imagery will be updated over time.

"We're excited to provide users with rich astronomical imagery and enhanced content that enables them to both learn about what they're seeing and tell their own stories," said Google Product Manager Lior Ron in a statement.

"By working with some of the industry's leading experts, we've been able to transform Google Earth into a virtual telescope."

Google Earth launched in June 2005 to combine its search service with satellite imagery, maps and 3D building to display geographical information of the world. The search engine says over 250 million people have downloaded it.

The Sky service will be available on all Google Earth domains, in 13 languages from later on Wednesday. Users will need to download the newest version of Google Earth which can be found at www.earth.google.com


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There are programs like this

There are programs like this already, if you didn't know. I've used a few. here is one i like personally - http://www.stellarium.org/

 

edit: according to the linked site it looks like they even use this in planetariums(sp?) 


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zntneo wrote: There are

zntneo wrote:

There are programs like this already, if you didn't know. I've used a few. here is one i like personally - http://www.stellarium.org/

 

edit: according to the linked site it looks like they even use this in planetariums(sp?)

I have had a chance to mess around with the Google Sky portion of the program and it is pretty cool. 

I've messed with the Stellarium program before but what is nice about the Google Earth is that you can really zoom in on some of the objects.  This is the first program I have run into where when you zoom in, you get to see Hubble quality images of the celestial bodies. 


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BGH, Thanks for the heads

BGH,

Thanks for the heads up on this. I've downloaded it and I agree, it is cool. 

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I just found my weekend

I just found my weekend entertainment.

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darth_josh wrote:

darth_josh wrote:
I just found my weekend entertainment.

I have been toying with it all afternoon, it is pretty freakin' FUCKING awesome!

 

(edit - fixed word) 


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BGH wrote: I have been

BGH wrote:

I have been toying with it all afternoon, it is pretty freakin' FUCKING awesome!

 

It really is!  I cannot wait to show this to my son - I'll never get him off the computer - LOL 


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Here is the Bad Astronomers

Here is the Bad Astronomers (Phil Plait) take on the new application:


 

Posted at 10:05 am in Astronomy, Piece of mind, Cool stuff

image of Orion  using Google Sky

When Google Earth came out, one of my first thoughts was how cool it would be to have an application like this for the sky. Google Earth is massively useful, and a planetarium app would be too.

Well, today, Google has released a version of Google Earth that maps the sky.

I don’t like it.

You read that right. I don’t like it. Well, to be clear, I don’t like it yet. I think this version is lacking some basic necessities, but once they (and some tweaks) are added this will be a pretty cool app.

For one thing, when I clicked the button to start it, it said it was loading the sky above my current location. However, it doesn’t tell me what that current location is. It doesn’t tell me what time of day it’s using — the sky moves, so time is crucial. It doesn’t move the sky in real time (or provide that option). It doesn’t tell me if the Sun is up or not. It doesn’t tell me where the horizon is.

These are all relatively simple things to put in, and I’m sure Google will install them eventually. But it seems odd not to have them available in the first release version.

There are some oddities. When I click on, for example, the Owl Nebula (a classic planetary nebula in Ursa Major) it displays an almost illegible image of the object. The description is fine, but the icon says it’s a globular cluster! Oops. That was the first image I clicked. How many more are there like that?

The red dots marking objects tend to actually cover the objects, making it hard to see them (in the Crab Nebula it covers the pulsar, so I can’t see it without making the dot disappear, and it’s not obvious how to do that). It’s not obvious how to zoom in and out (turns out it’s by double left and right clicking, but I found that by accident — that must be a feature of Google Earth in general I didn’t know about).

In the search box, if I type in my home address and go there, it sends me to a location in the constellation of Auriga. I suspect that’s what is directly overhead right now, but it doesn’t say!

There are some nice things, of course. Lots of objects from Hubble are integrated into the maps, for one, as are images from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (some odd image artifacts got in as well that should have been cleaned up, for that matter). The star maps are not bad, though patchy in spots. There are ctalogs of objects as different layers, which is useful. Zooming in and out is too slow for my taste (I’m impatient) but the way the stars appear and fade during zooming is nice, and that’s not easy to program so I’m impressed with how they did it.

But still, I’m scratching my head over why they left out so many obvious and necessary features in the first release. I think Google Sky can be a great tool, I really do, but to be a useful planetarium app it needs work. The enormous benefit of Google Earth is twofold: it allows you to interactively examine the Earth, and it allows people to add homemade features to it if they know how to code them or where to find them.

Interactively examining the sky is nice, but Google Sky needs work. It’s more of a gee-whiz photo album than a real piece of interactive software. IMO most folks will play with it for a few minutes and then stop using it, since at the moment it isn’t much more than a clickable way to look at objects on the sky. Once real interactivity is built into it — a way to see what’s up now, or tomorrow night, or on my trip to Alaska at 2:00 a.m. — it will begin to realize its potential.

Imagine if users can add their own images, for example. Or it displays satellite tracks in the sky, or where deep space probes are, or where Hubble is pointed right now, or where Jupiter will be in October. Google Sky will be an incredibly cool tool and will have real staying power… but it needs some more basics first. Until then, I’d rather go straight to the Hubble site to view images, and if I want to know what’s up now, I’d rather use some free apps to map the sky.

C’mon, Google folks! I know how smart you are! Get this rolling. Add these basic features, and you’ll find people using this software in droves. And you can add me to that list.


     I agree with some of what he says about ways to make the application better but I still think in it's infancy it is an interesting tool. I Also agree if you want to see the high definition/high quality images visiting the Hubble site is a better bet, but having an application like this that you kind of 'tour' the cosmos and see the Hubble photographed objects in perspective regarding the more easily identifiable night sky objects is a nice option.  

 

 


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Google has added a new app.

Google has added a new app. This is along the same lines as Google Sky so I will post it here. I think this app is rather fun too.

From the Bad Astronomer: (Last line is classic)


Google Moon

 

 

Posted at 4:55 pm in NASA, Astronomy, Cool stuff

Via the Google blog comes the news of a new app: Google Moon!

It’s very cool, and you can even select the Apollo landing sites. When you zoom in, it shows you the locations of various moonwalks, pieces of equipment, and more.

They were pretty clear about its use in the press release:

Google Moon’s visible imagery and topography are aligned with the recently updated lunar coordinate system and can be used for scientifically accurate mission planning and data analysis. The new site is designed to be user- friendly and encourage the exchange of data and ideas among scientists and amateur astronomers.

Nice. It’ll be interesting to see how this might play out when it’s time to start landing there again. I would love to see the LRO data get integrated into this next year, too.

One irritating thing (that isn’t Google’s fault) is that in many parts, the craters look like domes! This is because the illumination from the Sun is coming from some direction other than down, toward the bottom of your screen. As humans, we evolved to perceive objects as if they are illuminated from above, and when they aren’t, it confuses our poor brains. Depressions look like bumps, and vice-versa.

In fact, this can be avoided by having different data able to be put into the database; the Lunar Ranger series mapped almost the entire Moon, so I bet there are more images to choose from.

But back on topic, I can think of lots of APIs (little programs designed to use the interface) to go with this one! And once my book is done, I’ll have time to fool around…

And no, when you zoom all the way in, it’s not made of cheese.

 

 

 


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Very cool. I had a feeling

Very cool. I had a feeling Google would eventually do something like this. I already use Starry Night. Which in my opinion is the king. When it comes to astronomy programs. Its pretty expensive though.

www.starrynight.com

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