Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Google Businesses The Internet Software

Google Earth Gets Star-Gazing Add On 142

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the lots-of-dots dept.
Tom F writes to mention BBC News is reporting that Google has released a new add on for Google Earth that will allow users to search a 3D rendition of over 1 million stars and 200 million galaxies called Google Sky. "Optional layers allow users to explore images from the Hubble Space Telescope as well as animations of lunar cycles. [...] Users can overlay the night sky with other information such as galaxies, constellations and detailed images from the Hubble Space Telescope. Imagery for the system came from six research institutions including the Digital Sky Survey Consortium, the Palomar Observatory in California and the United Kingdom Astronomy Technology Centre. "
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Google Earth Gets Star-Gazing Add On

Comments Filter:
  • sounds... (Score:4, Informative)

    by cosmocain (1060326) on Wednesday August 22, 2007 @08:37AM (#20316865)
    ...a bit like this? [stellarium.org] except for open source. hu. now, what should motivate me using the google-tool?
    • Re:sounds... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Wednesday August 22, 2007 @08:42AM (#20316915) Homepage Journal
      Stellarium doesn't integrate with maps of the world, that's why. With Stellarium, you specify your location in Lat./Lon. or you specify the location of a known observatory. Then it will show you what the sky will look like at the specified (or current) time of day. With Google Earth, it would be easy to see where the stars are in the sky from anywhere on the planet.
      • Stellarium's granularity when searching for home locations is close enough to get most major and minor cities worldwide. I'll definitely be checking out the google product, but stellarium is a very well done, mature program.
      • Re:sounds... (Score:4, Informative)

        by ajs (35943) <ajs&ajs,com> on Wednesday August 22, 2007 @10:22AM (#20318049) Homepage Journal

        Stellarium doesn't integrate with maps of the world, that's why. With Stellarium, you specify your location in Lat./Lon. or you specify the location of a known observatory. Then it will show you what the sky will look like at the specified (or current) time of day. With Google Earth, it would be easy to see where the stars are in the sky from anywhere on the planet.
        I think you phrased that poorly. Stellarium lets you see the sky from any point on earth, but you might find yourself using Google Maps (and/or Google Earth) to locate your point on earth. This is a fair point, but one that's moot after the first time you fire up Stellarium.

        Another tool that's useful is celestia [shatters.net], a tool for displaying the known universe in 3D, and navigating through it. It's a nice compliment to stellarium, and I recommend both tools highly. To see what celestia is capable of, fire it up and press "d" for the demo. It's definitely one of those "oooh, ahhh" moments.

        • by Tacvek (948259)
          Google Earth has had the ability to look up into the sky for a while now. It has also had data to calculate the stars positions at a given time.

          But This feature chooses not to re-use this at all! This is a whole set of data layers that works similarly but not identical to the data layers on earth.

          The program does not look to be useful as a general astronomy program. It does even give information about the moon's position at any given time. (You have a limited system for animating the moon/planets positions,
      • by RockDoctor (15477)

        Stellarium doesn't integrate with maps of the world, that's why. With Stellarium, you specify your location in Lat./Lon. or you specify the location of a known observatory.

        Hmmm, I get the feeling that you think that knowing your present latitude and longitude is some sort of a problem. Maybe it's just a consequence of my having to deal with geographical data on a day-to-day basis, maybe it's because I've been a mountaineer for nearly thirty years, may be it's because I work out at sea regularly, maybe it's

    • by gardyloo (512791)
      Er... didn't make it to the bottom of the article?
    • by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 22, 2007 @08:48AM (#20316969) Homepage Journal
      According to these guys [mashable.com], google sky is (like google earth) stitched together actual photographs.

      Could be more accurate than a generated model.
      • ...or less, considering effects like gravitation lenses [wikipedia.org], absorbing gas and dust and other junk "up there" (or "down there", depending on your point of view.
        • if you want to know how the sky *looks* from where you are, taking into account the gook in the sky, gravitational lenses, etc all, I think, would make it more realistic
          • by Hatta (162192)
            if you want to know how the sky *looks* from where you are, taking into account the gook in the sky

            I didn't know god was korean.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anne_Nonymous (313852)
      Google allows you to overlay a map of the nearest Starbucks on the night sky.
    • There is also Celestia [shatters.net]
      • I wish Google would team up with the Celestia people and make GoogleUniverse. It would be awesome to combine Celestia's ability to travel the universe with up-to-date data that could be gathered from Google and also with Google Earth's ability to move in very close to things.
        • by Fred_A (10934)
          Also so you'd know where to refuel when drifting through interstellar space ? I can see when that could come in handy.
    • by ajs (35943)
      I'll wait and see what the Google tool provides. Perhaps it will have some nice features that stellarium doesn't. I'd also like to see the data they provide (stellarium's data isn't all that comprehensive).

      One thing about stellarium that I love, though, is the red-filter. When you turn it on, the entire display is tinted red so that you can use it on a laptop while star-gazing without ruining your night vision. Very handy for star-spotting.
    • Re:sounds... (Score:4, Informative)

      by bcrowell (177657) on Wednesday August 22, 2007 @10:38AM (#20318229) Homepage

      Some free-as-in-something possibilities that either run on linux or are web-based:

      • YourSky [fourmilab.ch] - This is a very elaborate and sophisticated web-based service that makes star charts; free as in beer, but not open-source
      • PlanetFinder [lightandmatter.com] - A java applet I wrote that concentrates on ease of use; good for figuring out what you're seeing with your naked eyes, or for planning observations, e.g., when is Mars going to rise so I can point my telescope at it?
      • Stellarium - cool photorealistic planetarium (computer-generated images, as opposed to maps or photos); FOSS
      • Celestia - lets you fly around the universe in 3d; FOSS
      • Xephem - Sky maps. Free as in beer. Has some really nasty licensing issues. I used to use it a lot, and it worked great, but it's no longer available as a Debian package.

      Note that they all do different things. They're not interchangeable.

    • by Bombula (670389)
      It really isn't like Stellarium or Cellestia at all. Google Sky doesn't allow you to navigate in 3D as if you're traveling through the universe. It allows you to zoom in on certain parts of the sky as if you're looking at them through a telescope. And it's all real imagery, nothing is rendered. As fun as those other programs are, to me it is much more awe-inspiring to see the 'real' stuff. Google Sky has also done a pretty good job of mapping lots of objects in there, although their object search tool
  • Let's hope that its as useful (eventually) to amateurs as google earth [astroseti.org] is to geologists.
    • I don't think it will compared to the other tools, since (as far as I can see from TFA) it does not allow the user to change the time of observation. This is an absolute must for amateur astronomers planning an observing run. You also want to be able to ask where this or that object is, when it will be visible, what declination it will have at any time, how far from the Moon and Sun it will be and so much more. It will be fun for regular Google Earth users, but amateur and professional astronomers will nee
    • by D-Cypell (446534) on Wednesday August 22, 2007 @09:01AM (#20317113)
      ...or google images [google.com] is to perverts.
      • Huh? I thought they're doing some sort of filtering of illegal stuff? I mean, I didn't try it but I'd assume... wouldn't they be liable?
    • by Jugalator (259273)
      It would be cool if it was made at least as powerful as Celestia [shatters.net].
    • It might be useful in getting people to become "amatures".
      But speaking as an amature astronomer myself I wouldn't consider it useful. Fun maybe and worth looking at but not very useful.

      Cartes du Ciel, now that is useful for amatures. The astronomy world is one where free software abounds and simple machined pieces of metal can cost a few hundred dollars.
      http://www.stargazing.net/astropc/
  • Another suggestion (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sierpinski (266120) on Wednesday August 22, 2007 @08:38AM (#20316873)
    I remember seeing a 3D Java app from some NASA (or some NASA-related website) where you could view, in simulated real-time, the position of all the known satellites that are currently orbiting the Earth. It included the ISS, and Mir before it was brought down. I wonder if Google has any plan to incorporate that kind of thing into their application. It would be pretty cool if I could zoom into my house, and see (real-time if possible) what satellites were passing over my house just by zooming out enough.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Deag (250823)
      This [heavens-above.com] website is good for this. I used it for looking at the ISS and it was accurate.
    • by CraftyJack (1031736) on Wednesday August 22, 2007 @08:59AM (#20317077)
      You're thinking of JTrack:
      science.nasa.gov/realtime/jtrack/3d/JTrack3D.html
    • May I suggest an excellent application called Celestia. Quite wonderful an experience to use. It's using a 3D interface and lets you navigate our solar system and stars in our galaxy (some 120,000 stars). It has extensions, so you can load packs of new objects and functionality, e.g. satellites orbiting the earth and so on.

      More info on Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] and of course Celestia's [shatters.net] homepage.

      It is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.
      • by Mad Marlin (96929)
        A big thumbs up for Celestia from me too. I spent a good deal of time messing around with that one, it is a lot of fun. The main thing I learned: a thousand times light speed is really slow! To get the Star Trek effect with the stars you need to be doing several light-years per second.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by alphakappa (687189)
      There is a layer that can provide satellite orbits

      http://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2006/12/in teresting_satellit.html [gearthblog.com]
      • "When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail." - Abraham Maslow (1908-1970)

        When the only tool you own is a hammer, everything on which you use it begins to resemble a thumb." -- ConceptJunkie (1965 - )

    • by Mechanik (104328)
      I remember seeing a 3D Java app from some NASA (or some NASA-related website) where you could view, in simulated real-time, the position of all the known satellites that are currently orbiting the Earth. It included the ISS, and Mir before it was brought down. I wonder if Google has any plan to incorporate that kind of thing into their application. It would be pretty cool if I could zoom into my house, and see (real-time if possible) what satellites were passing over my house just by zooming out enough.
      • by internewt (640704)

        How much can you really camouflage a satellite? Even if they make use of stealth technology, I would think they'd still be optically visible. With the cost it takes to build one and put it up in the sky, they are built for long-term use, which generally means great big solar panels, which are hard to hide.

        I saw a TV programme about spy sats, and the US one(s) that can't be seen keeps its narrow edge towards the earth at all times, I understand. From what I remember, it could be seen being unloaded from the shuttle, but then vanished shortly afterwards.

  • by BlackCobra43 (596714) on Wednesday August 22, 2007 @08:46AM (#20316943)
    Google Map, Google Earth, Google Sky.. I think it leads to Google Mind.

    Imagine (ho ho!) what would hpapen if Google were to invest in thought-imaging technlogoy, in order to accurately represent thought processes. People would have G-Implants (tm) in their brain recording their thoughts for others ot peruse!

    It's coming. Just you wait...
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      As if the internet didn't provide enough porn already.
    • My money is on Google Oceans. Images and locations of known shipwrecks. Links to video perhaps.
    • And I can see people using it. After all, if you got nothing to hide...

      Scary thought. Though, it's soon gonna be indexed so you find it quickly again and get scared some more. Preferably when the next freedom limiting law is due.
    • by bomanbot (980297)

      Google Map, Google Earth, Google Sky.. I think it leads to Google Mind.
      No, you got it all wrong, they will rename it Google Skynet [wikipedia.org]. It will be like the one from the movies (enslave all of humanity etc.), but with AdSense technology ;-)
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by StikyPad (445176)
      Clearly the next steps are Google Fire and Google Water.
    • by Hatta (162192)
      Whatever will help me find the G-spot.
  • by Chapter80 (926879) on Wednesday August 22, 2007 @08:48AM (#20316973)
    No need to go outside anymore!

    I told my kids about the upcoming eclipse [sciencedaily.com], and I was excited to see them enthusiastic, until one said "What channel will it be on?"

    • by Jugalator (259273)

      No need to go outside anymore!
      The sad part about this, if I'd take your reply seriously ;-), is that you need to travel farther and farther from your home these days to see the stars well due to light pollution. :-( It's far too rare for me to see a sky truly filled with stars.
    • The reality channel. The first one to broadcast in Ultra-HDTV. They also offer stereo vision (tm), but only to people who still have both eyes. I think they're still fighting a lawsuit against some group for the rights of people with special needs.

      So far the program is pretty boring most of the time, but the graphics is incredible!
    • by lawpoop (604919)
      "The Sky Channel" "The Outside Channel" or "Station Reality"...!
    • Boy, that story could use some editing. I can't find August 38 on my calendar.

      What is it about Web articles that makes people not want to proofread them?

  • by ahecht (567934) on Wednesday August 22, 2007 @08:49AM (#20316975) Homepage
    The article doesn't have a download link, and a Google search turns up nothing. Where's the link?
  • by 12357bd (686909) on Wednesday August 22, 2007 @08:54AM (#20317027)

    Just a month ago (July/12) ... GoogleSky [slashdot.org] .. talking about scanning astronomical plates.

    The curious thing is that the .com domain was registered just on Jun/29!, and the domain name servers seems not to be updated yet (Aug/22), the basename url (googlesky.com) leads to a page stating the domain name is still on sale!. Vacation time at Google perhaps?

    On another front, will GoogleSky add a time shift scroll control to the pages? Astronomical data can be computed if no image is available...

    • It already has a time scroll. You can use it to see the orbit of the moon and planets in relation to earth. Turn one of those on, and then it should appear as a transparent control at the top-center of the map.
  • by sillyphisher1 (1100841) on Wednesday August 22, 2007 @08:55AM (#20317037)
    Google can map 200 million galaxies in 3-D but can't come up with a road map of Mexico? What's up?
  • Can someone show me the directions to Tattoine? Most people know about those "faces" you can find in Google Earth, hills that looks like indians etc. I guess we will be seeing star "faces", possible UFO's and Elvis very soon.
    • by Chapter80 (926879)
      Stupid Google Stars... I'm looking for Kamino [starwars.com], just beyond the Outer Rim, and I can't find it. It's like someone has removed it!
  • Next thing you know, they'll be spotting green gelatinous blobs suntanning nude on the liquid-metal beaches of Upsilon Andromedae b's fourth moon.
    • Quick, call the venture capital guys, I think I got a great idea for a really new porn site!

      If someone needs me, I'm at the patent office.
  • There is also KStars Desktop Planetarium [kde.org] for KDE. Quote:

    It provides an accurate graphical simulation of the night sky, from any location on Earth, at any date and time. The display includes 130,000 stars, 13,000 deep-sky objects,all 8 planets, the Sun and Moon, and thousands of comets and asteroids.

    It's still my personal favorite out of all the desktop planetariums. The best thing about it is you don't need to be online to use it like Google's, so you can run it on your laptop while outside viewing the sta

    • by griffjon (14945)
      Stellarium's pretty good too, for just star-gazing. Though Celestia still rocks in terms of flying around the solar system/galaxy/whatever.
      • by treeves (963993)
        I find Celestia harder to use for sky-watching than Stellarium, but as you say, better for "flying around" the solar system and universe. Stellarium is better at simulating what the sky actually looks like, when the sun is setting etc. I like them both, but they serve different purposes, IMO. For star charts alone, Skymaps.com are good and include the major events of the month.
        • by griffjon (14945)
          What would be truly excellent is Google Earth + Celestia with maps for each planet; with the ability to choose a point in space (say, at an address using G. Earth) and look up and see the night sky with the ability to change local time, etc.
  • SDSS (Sloan Digital Sky Servey) [worldwindcentral.com] has been in World Wind over a year now. And Stellarium [stellarium.org] is still the best way to properly look at the sky from a computer. You have no true reference points in the GE Sky.. it is just a "pretty viewer".
  • Now scientist can just use google to find darkmatter/ET/Extra solar planets
  • (c) google (Score:3, Funny)

    by Speare (84249) on Wednesday August 22, 2007 @09:11AM (#20317203) Homepage Journal

    There are already some great planetarium software applications available, like Stellarium. I see that it could be "more convenient" if Google Earth offered similar views, but I can't help but think that with the patchwork quality of Google Maps/Earth data, that the sky dataset will look like another half-finished project.

    I may joke that in Google Sky, Rigel appears to be "(c) google" and Sirius will be a hotlink for digital radio, but there's a more serious concern of incomplete, poorly matched, patchwork quality, license-encumbered imagery that will blunt the value of Google Sky if they're not careful. Since Google's an ad company, I fail to see how this will actually bring them more revenue.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by wvmarle (1070040)

      I may joke that in Google Sky, Rigel appears to be "(c) google" and Sirius will be a hotlink for digital radio, but there's a more serious concern of incomplete, poorly matched, patchwork quality, license-encumbered imagery that will blunt the value of Google Sky if they're not careful. Since Google's an ad company, I fail to see how this will actually bring them more revenue.

      Google Sky, like Google Earth, will cost them money to set up. However, not that much, as the main infrastructure (huge distributed databases) they have in place already. It only costs them the labour to do so. But that's not bad for Google anyway, because now we're talking about them (again), they get press, more people (not everyone uses Google) use their search, and that's where they make their money.

      Google is a young, rich, sorry very rich company. They can experiment a lot. They're not just about se

      • by Speare (84249)

        But that's not bad for Google anyway, because now we're talking about them (again), they get press, more people (not everyone uses Google) use their search, and that's where they make their money.

        They're not just about search anymore, they are about data management and distributed computing.

        Yes, publicity is good, but I must stress, Google doesn't make money on searches. They make money on ads. All they spend on search and data management technology is a loss leader, just like the "kids eat free" night at the local buffet or more accurately like the sparkly electric lights on the casino building. They make their money not on search but on advertising. It's those AdWords and AdSense that form Google's backbone, and the search is just a way to make the web usable to get people to see (an

    • Since Google's an ad company, I fail to see how this will actually bring them more revenue.
      If it secures them long articles on BBC News, that's a win.
      • by internewt (640704)

        Since the change in director general at the BBC, I feel that the BBC has seriously degraded. They seem to be very much less questioning of the state these days, and very much more pro-authority.

        Since the BBC's involvment with the David Kelly case, the major shit-storms that would have happened in the BBC in the aftermath has lead to changes. Its now either policy to be more authoritarian (set by the new director general?), or the employees have become "lazier", and the attitude is a side-effect. By lazie

  • by dogmatixpsych (786818) on Wednesday August 22, 2007 @09:11AM (#20317207) Homepage Journal
    If Han Solo had only had this software he could have mapped out the best route and made the Kessel Run in 9 parsecs.
  • I have only one reaction to this.

    "My God, it's full of stars!"

  • The issue with Stellarium is that it isn't all 100% real information, its generated information to be somewhat accurate. Sky in Google Earth however contains actual Digital Sky Survey data and Sloan Digital Sky Survey data. Not to mention that the Space Telescope Science Institute (the people who run Hubble) was the primary research institution that worked on the project with Google. This means that besides the ground based digital data, Hubble Space Telescope images are overlayed on the sky as well. Goog
    • by Hatta (162192)
      its impossible to compose one complete image of the sky from thousands of "digital plates" and keep the data accurate.

      Why?
  • Check out Celestia (Score:5, Informative)

    by voislav98 (1004117) on Wednesday August 22, 2007 @09:43AM (#20317545)
    You should check out Celestia, which runs both on Windows and Linux (and Mac I think). http://www.shatters.net/celestia/ [shatters.net] Nice thing about it is that it has a huge library of add-ons that people make from NASA images. IMHO with a little work it's far superior to commercial astronomy programs (such as Starry Night), although my Celestia folder is at about 2 GB right now.
  • ... but the zoom effect when you jump from location to location needs some work. When you jump between locations on the surface of the earth the curve the camera follows seems graceful and mostly sedate. When you jump between stellar locations, it's a combination of a bad camera zoom effect, too wide a field of view in an FPS, and finally like your looking down a telescope as it zooms across the sky at maximum magnification.
  • i, for one, welcome our new google overlords who will allow us to use google sky to view the approach of our new alien overlords.
  • for making such useful, interesting software for free. Keep up the good work.
  • Everybody may have seen Hubble's pictures of the Eagle Nebula a million times, but for the first time we'll get to see what it looks like *from the back*!

    I just hope they make Google Warp Drive (beta) open source.
  • Stellarium has two great advantages over Google Sky:

    1: Totally self-contained, i.e. you don't need an Internet connection at all to run Stellarium, let alone broadband.

    2: No ads.

    • by g-san (93038)
      1. Then how do you download it? How do you download updates to the maps?

      2. Looking at google earth, I see a Google logo and image copyrights. Where do I turn on the ads?

      Does being a Stellarium fanboy pay much?
    • I think that Stellarium, Xephem etc. and this new GE feature are targeted pretty much for different uses anyway:

      - The Sky feature in GE is nice for general visual ogling around the sky for entertainment purposes; the UI is rather slick and the search functionality seems to cover the popular things (Messier/NGC catalogs etc) quite well. This makes it very attractive for causal wandering around the night sky, especially for people who aren't interested about getting dirty with the details of astronomy (althou
      • by Hatta (162192)
        Wow thanks for mentioning XEphem. I'd not heard of it before. I really love academic software.
  • That's a plus from my viewpoint, at least for us westerners. Much more intuitive.

    Stellarium and KStars both need manual fixups to get those.
  • ... this will make money... how, exactly?
  • by Flwyd (607088) on Wednesday August 22, 2007 @02:47PM (#20321241) Homepage
    Can I turn on the light pollution layer so I get a true sense of the Los Angeles sky?

To err is human -- to blame it on a computer is even more so.

Working...