Google announced the launch of Sky, a new feature that enables users of Google Earth to view the sky as seen from planet Earth. With Sky, users can now float through the skies via Google Earth. This easy-to-use tool enables all Earth users to view and navigate through 100 million individual stars and 200 million galaxies. High resolution imagery and informative overlays create a unique playground for visualizing and learning about space.
To access Sky, users need only click "Switch to Sky" from the "view" drop-down menu in Google Earth, or click the Sky button on the Google Earth toolbar. The interface and navigation are similar to that of standard Google Earth steering, including dragging, zooming, search, "My Places," and layer selection.
As part of the new feature, Google is introducing seven informative layers that illustrate various celestial bodies and events:
Sky was created by Google’s Pittsburgh engineering team by stitching together imagery from numerous scientific third parties including the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), the Digital Sky Survey Consortium (DSSC), CalTech’s Palomar Observatory, the United Kingdom Astronomy Technology Centre (UK ATC), and the Anglo-Australian Observatory (AAO). The initiative was born out of the University of Washington’s participation in the Google Visiting Faculty Program, which makes it possible for leading academic researchers to visit Google for 6-12 month periods.
"We’re excited to provide users with rich astronomical imagery and enhanced content that enables them to both learn about what they’re seeing above and tell their own stories," said Lior Ron, Google Product Manager. "By working with some of the industry’s leading experts, we’ve been able to transform Google Earth into a virtual telescope."
"Sky is a very cool new feature for anyone who has ever looked up at the sky and wanted to know more," said Sally Ride, former astronaut and CEO of Sally Ride Science. "I think this is a great tool for satisfying that curiosity. Never before has a roadmap of the entire sky been made so readily available. Anyone interested in exploring the wonders of our universe can quickly see where the stunning objects photographed by Hubble actually dwell in the heavens. Sky in Google Earth will foster and initiate new understanding of the universe by bringing it to everyone’s home computer," said Dr. Carol Christian of STScI, who co-led the organization’s Sky team with Dr. Alberto Conti. The announcement follows last month’s inclusion of the NASA layer group in Google Earth, showcasing NASA’s Earth exploration. The group has three main components, including Astronaut Photography of Earth, Satellite Imagery, and Earth City Lights. Astronaut Photography of Earth showcases photographs of the Earth as seen from space from the early 1960s on, while Satellite Imagery highlights Earth images taken by NASA satellites over the years and Earth City Lights traces well-lit cities across the globe.
To access Sky in Google Earth, users need to download the newest version of Google Earth. The feature will be available on all Google Earth domains, in 13 languages.Celestial, Earth, Google, Google Sky Sky
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