Google Goes to Space

The recently released version of the popular software Google Earth includes a new unique feature – a look not down towards our own planet but upwards into the heavens. Clicking the name of your favorite galaxy will take you millions of light years away in a blink of an eye, showing amazing pictures taken from both Space and Earth based telescopes.

Version 4.2 of Google Earth, which added the new sky tool for watching the stars, is also more accurate on Earth displaying images – up to 0.3 meters in resolution (and in rare cases even less). But without a doubt the new sky tool is the highlight of this recent release. The ability to add text and links to heavenly bodies in order to receive external information (for instance from Wikipedia) significantly improves the user experience and can be used as a basic tool for learning astronomy.

Although the software seems to work well, don’t expect too much of the resolution in space. Many areas are not covered at all and others have very low resolution. Trying to look for the planets in our solar system also proved to be less intuitive than one would expect. However, if this feature will evolve like the rest of the software it will probably become a huge success.

More information about the new software can be found here. A quick video showing some of the capabilities of the sky tool can be found here. Want to try for yourself? You can download the latest version of Google Earth here.

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