Google Sky

Google Sky Screen CapLifehacker mentioned on Friday that Google has just launched a site similar to Maps, but for the Sky. I’ve not explored Google Earth much, but I guess the data has been available there for some time. As a bit of an amateur astronomer, it is pretty cool to be able to zoom in and out as well as add infrared and microwave overlays to compare the data. Sky is a pretty incredible collection of various data (from Hubble, Spitzer, Chandra and others) with each aligned to the DSS images. I did find everything to be much more highly compressed than I would like and the edges between the more detailed photos aren’t that smooth. Still, it seems to be a pretty good start toward another online astronomy tool. I’ve linked the screen shot to the most recognizable constellation in the northern sky: Orion.

In the past I’ve used several other astronomy/stellar display applications such as Celestia, Stellarium and Red Shift. And honestly, all of them seem to be better than Google Sky is at the moment. Additionally, Microsoft Research is working on a project they called Worldwide Telescope which sounds pretty much amazing from what I’ve read about it (less the fact it’s probably Windows only). True, Sky does utilize actual photography of the sky, but a simulated sky does seem to be easier to navigate. Perhaps in the future these programs might provide links to Google Sky.

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1 Response to “Google Sky”

  1. 1 Trevor
    March 17, 2008 at 23:58

    Get over the windows/mac thing already…everyone else has.

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