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Google Sky Now Available Through Your Browser 83

Ars Technica brings word that Google Sky, formerly only available as an extension of the Google Earth software, is now accessible through your web browser. The interface of Google Sky is quite similar to that of Google Maps, complete with search and alternate views by spectrum. The story also mentions (and more importantly, links) ten of the more interesting sights. We discussed Google Sky's initial release last year. Quoting: "Visible light only shows us a small picture of the entire universe; non-visible spectra such as ultraviolet (UV), infrared and X-ray hold a whole other world of information. Here is where Google Sky becomes very cool. There are three more sections that highlight fantastic images from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, the GALEX Evolution Explorer (UV), and the Spitzer Space Telescope (IR). What makes these very cool is that under each selected body there is a slider that will change the displayed image back and forth between the visible and invisible spectrum."
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Google Sky Now Available Through Your Browser

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  • intergalactic law (Score:1, Interesting)

    by bjmoneyxxx ( 1227784 )
    What would be the repercussions if, for example viewing certain systems in the x-ray wavelength was forbidden by some wild alien race? Would they go after the entire earth, the individual people who looked, or what? Ideas?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by nospam007 ( 722110 )
      What would be the repercussions if, for example viewing certain systems in the x-ray wavelength was forbidden by some wild alien race? Would they go after the entire earth, the individual people who looked, or what? Ideas?

      The Intergalactic RIAA has the copyright of all the visible and invisible wavelengths outside the milky way.
      Viewing that without any license is piracy.
    • By analogy to google earth and restricted areas on earth, I would assume the intergalactic aliens would sue Google.
    • They would, no doubt, be aware that Earth knew nothing about intergalactic law. Either they'd recognise that Earth is not a part of intergalactic society, and would therefore be excluded from both benefits and punishments, they'd destroy us, or they'd include us in whatever society they have. I'm leaning towards the first, because it would explain why the other two haven't happened yet.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by amRadioHed ( 463061 )
        Everyone knows that ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law. Just you wait, I guarantee the first signal SETI discovers will be a summons.
    • Would they go after the entire earth, the individual people who looked, or what? Ideas?
      This really hasn't been a problem since the Romulans signed the Khitomer Accord.
  • Cool. By the way, will they be blacking out (or "modifying") parts of the sky that contain things we're not supposed to see?

    And what about Google OrbitView for virtual flights in and out of the satellites (and debris) around the earth... or Google CanalView for Mars? This could be a big funding source for NASA...

  • by DutchMasterKiller ( 1003736 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @09:39AM (#22764938)
    We probably won't be able to zoom in on Tranquility Base, where the Eagle hasn't landed *bleep*
  • Come on, now! Somebody come up with a pithy post vis a vis Eliot, the telescope, and his lady friends. It's another 36+ hours until Jon Stewart is on the air.
  • Anyone know why my Google Maps pages suddenly turned blank sometime last fall, when I apt-get upgraded a whole bunch of apps in Ubuntu (sometime after the release of 7.10)? I don't know which upgraded app caused it, because there was a week or two with a lot of upgrades on different days, after which stopped working, and I can't roll each back just to get back the Google maps - there's too many, and I'm too busy. I've searched the Web several times over the past 3-4 months, but no sign of an
    • by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @10:43AM (#22765184)

      Hey Doc. I work on Maps and sometimes debug weird customer-reported problems like this.

      Here's The Real Mikes three step guide to diagnosing and fixing Google Maps problems:

      1. Create a new browser profile, using "firefox -ProfileManager". This effectively clears your cache, cookies, extensions and other settings that can interfere with maps. Does it work? If so, go back to your main profile and (in this order): clear your cache, delete your cookies, revert any changed settings (especially network settings) in about:config, and finally start disabling extensions and then plugins (in particular, RealPlayer if you have it). If you have any web accelerator type mods to your Firefox, revert them too.
      2. If that doesn't work, the next step is to look at your home router. Disable any firewall it may have, in particular, watch out for the "max pending connections" or "synflood protection" settings. Make sure they're either off or set really high. You may need to reset your router after doing these things.
      3. Finally, try loading a satellite tile URL directly in your browser: [] - do you see a tile? If you get a connection timeout, but regular works, see step 2 above. If you see an error page talking about viruses, make sure you're only using Google Maps/Earth to view imagery and not any other app.

      To be honest, from your description it sounds like the first step will yield the most fruit - I include the other two for completeness (if people see Maps load just fine but you don't see the roadmap or satellite images themselves, those two steps can help). Probably your cache has corrupted somehow, either that or some of the files Maps needs aren't loading. If you can't figure it out and know how, I'd suggest watching what happens with the Live HTTP Headers extension.

      • by johannesg ( 664142 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @12:56PM (#22765944)
        You would think Google might have some sort of site where you could find these solutions. Some sort of searching system would be ideal.
      • Thanks for helping :).

        I got the tile []. Before I blow away all my useful history/state with (firefox -ProfileManager), is there another, less intrusive way I can test that technique? Like creating a new user with no profile, or creating them and running (firefox -ProfileManager) to blow away their profile? Maybe I have created a root user profile and should blow that away?

        As for my router, it doesn't have a problem with max connections, which is rather high. And I don't want to turn off synflood protection. I
        • Using -ProfileManager won't blow away your data. The point of using -ProfileManager is to create a *new* profile which sits alongside your already-existing one, which will basically act as a clean installation. You can then switch back and forth with -ProfileManager as you choose, although you have to close all your browser windows before you can switch profile.
      • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *
        Sorry, but I've looked into this extensively from the user side, on multiple different systems and browser setups, and you're wrong. This is what happens in userland:

        If your connection speed TO GOOGLE drops below about 20k (as can easily happen on slow dialup), Google maps WILL cease sending satellite-view tiles. It doesn't matter how many times you clear your cache, profiles, whatever (been there, done all that) ... it simply will not work after your connection speed drops below a certain point. It stops s
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Doc Ruby ( 173196 )
        Thanks, I figured it out, and fixed it :).

        It was a config:

        user set
        Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.0)

        I deleted the value and (right-clicked to) reset it, restarted Firefox, and all was well :).

        Deleting cache and cookies didn't change anything. I used (firefox -ProfileManager) to create a test profile, which worked OK with . So I progressively copied directories files from my failing profile to replace their counter

        • and deleted it using the about:prefs page GUI in my failing profile

          Actually, that's a mistake. It's in the about:configs page.
  • by RobinH ( 124750 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @10:03AM (#22765026) Homepage
    Wouldn't Google Sky be more useful if you could enter a lat/long, and it could give you a picture of the sky from that location at a given time, related to NSEW, etc.? Then you could actually see that the bright object in the SE sky in the morning really is Venus, etc.

    The problem with it currently is that there's no frame of reference. On Google Earth, you generally look at everything from some frame of reference, like you start with your house or the Eiffel Tower or Hoover Dam and start looking around from there.
  • by isorox ( 205688 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @10:19AM (#22765104) Homepage Journal
    It seems a little buggy. Having found Mars, and found Venus, I decided to do what I do on google maps, just for a laugh. I guess I hoped for a "3 degrees up, 7 minutes right" or whatever, but instead I got some interesting results.

    - 33 Results for venus to mars -
    Head north on Blue Shore Dr toward Lakeside Dr
    Blue Shore Dr turns left and becomes Lakeside Dr
    Lakeside Dr turns right and becomes Shaded Trail
    Turn right at Highway 109
    Turn left at Highway 207 ....
  • infrared (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheSHAD0W ( 258774 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @11:13AM (#22765342) Homepage
    The wide angle infrared view [] is especially striking. I'm assuming the black slashes indicate missing imagery and not alien activity.
  • Sensors located a Borg cube at 16h 15m 45.00s and -42 degrees 46' 16.4". Resistance is futile.
  • Once again Google Creates something that is Hypercool. Well, it will be once they work out the bugs in the display.
  • So like... does this mean that Google CAN take the sky from me?

    And is this like giving it back?

    I'm confused now...
  • Google Sky seems to weigh in on whether Pluto still counts as a planet. If you search for "Planets", you're directed to the planets layer, which I couldn't find (and isn't found if you search Google Maps help either). But click on "The Solar System" and there's Pluto, still included, no matter how many other small round bodies may be lurking about the solar system. Way to stand up for the little guy, Google!

  • Have a look at - its really nice, and has a convenient overlaid sidebar where you can browse interesting phenomena like the Bubble Nebula without knowing its Calder Number.
  • by operon ( 688118 ) on Sunday March 16, 2008 @12:17PM (#22765728) Homepage
    Search: "Extraterrestrial life" OR E.T. OR Borg OR "Death Star" "No results"
  • Unluckily, that interface works only because nobody lives in the polar region (well... yes, nearly nobody). For the sky, polar area is a frequently watched part of it, which is hopelessly distorted. Perhaps they should make an alternative view for those?
  • by 602 ( 652745 )
    Too bad there's no radio spectrum. Maybe they'll add that later.

    (Please enjoy My Brother Karl Jansky and His Discovery of Radio Waves from Beyond the Earth []).

  • People are always talking about how the vastness of the universe makes them feel insignificant or small, but looking at a piece of it here, with scales so vast that it has galaxies the size of the inch and countless dots of light, it just seems like so much to explore. So much more to see than what's on our little corner of the place, it's inspiring. Those who feel depressed by it don't know what they're talking about. Perhaps I've seen too much star trek ;)
  • I guess Google finally got the hint after seeing such a large number of image searches for "Your anus".
  • I would definely say that the web version of Google Sky is still in its alpha stage. It seems like they are still a long way from ready.

    On the other hand, I wish my physics professor was alive to see this. (If only he would have lived another year to see it.)

    Being that he majored in cosmology, he would especially like the microwave and the infrared modes. The last lecture for the local STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) group was about red shifts and blue shifts as well as the age
  • But what am I looking at?? Why a fun but useless historical overlay and no constellation overlay allowing one to actually navigate round the interface. Nice start but very very beta.
  • Am I the only one seeing the text in the historical map mirrored left-to right?
    Maybe this was on purpose? (it was necessary to reverse it so that the superimposed maps would match and it was considered more important to preserve the original image than to make it more useful by being able to read it normally)?
    Got it! the real reason is that the brain of the original developer has a codec that automatically filters the map and mirrors it in a readable way, it must be the ffdshow in my brain that needs an upd

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