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Google Earth Gets Star-Gazing Add On

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the lots-of-dots dept.

Google 142

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. "

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yes, but (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20316859)

Does it run Linux?

Re:yes, but (5, Funny)

Matisaro (939487) | more than 7 years ago | (#20316879)

No, why would someone who runs linux want to know what the outside looks like?

Re:yes, but (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 7 years ago | (#20316935)

Someone please mod parent +1 Funny.

My answer to your question: you can't slide beer under the door!

Re:yes, but (5, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317585)

> My answer to your question: you can't slide beer under the door!

Sure you can, you just need to wait for it to go flat.

Re:yes, but (3, Informative)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317371)

How could he look outside, without Windows?

Retarded anon coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20317051)

Applying this funny-once-upon-a-time-question to a service is retarded. Please go away.

sounds... (4, Informative)

cosmocain (1060326) | more than 7 years ago | (#20316865)

...a bit like this? [stellarium.org] except for open source. hu. now, what should motivate me using the google-tool?

Re:sounds... (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#20316915)

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.

Re:sounds... (1)

mattdev121 (727783) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317947)

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... (3, Informative)

ajs (35943) | more than 7 years ago | (#20318049)

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.

Re:sounds... (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 7 years ago | (#20316961)

Er... didn't make it to the bottom of the article?

Stellarium is generated. (5, Informative)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#20316969)

According to these guys [mashable.com] , google sky is (like google earth) stitched together actual photographs.

Could be more accurate than a generated model.

Re:Stellarium is generated. (0)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317267)

...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.

Re:Stellarium is generated. (1)

VolciMaster (821873) | more than 7 years ago | (#20319247)

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

Re:Stellarium is generated. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20319525)

technically speaking, the generated simulation could also be more accurate than the stitched pictures! :)
depends what you mean by accurate. I mean, pictures are a more accurate representation of what you SEE, but space is curved, and technically the models could be a better representation of the actual topography of space.
-b

Re:sounds... (3, Interesting)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317497)

Google allows you to overlay a map of the nearest Starbucks on the night sky.

Re:sounds... (1)

AnswerIs42 (622520) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317737)

There is also Celestia [shatters.net]

I wish... (1)

interactive_civilian (205158) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317915)

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.

Re:sounds... (1)

ajs (35943) | more than 7 years ago | (#20318085)

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... (3, Informative)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 7 years ago | (#20318229)

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.

Re:sounds... (1)

sgholt (973993) | more than 7 years ago | (#20318437)

Another application you might try is Digital Universe by the Hayden Planetarium...
http://haydenplanetarium.org/ [haydenplanetarium.org]
Available for Windows and Linux...

Bookmarked (1)

DoomHaven (70347) | more than 7 years ago | (#20318875)

Thanks for the info!

Let's hope... (1)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#20316871)

Let's hope that its as useful (eventually) to amateurs as google earth [astroseti.org] is to geologists.

Re:Let's hope... (1)

chr.vinter (925095) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317057)

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 need more.

Re:Let's hope... (3, Funny)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317113)

...or google images [google.com] is to perverts.

Re:Let's hope... (0)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317295)

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?

Re:Let's hope... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20317325)

Your link should be to google images [google.com]

Re:Let's hope... (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317349)

It would be cool if it was made at least as powerful as Celestia [shatters.net] .

Re:Let's hope... (1)

Liquidrage (640463) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317689)

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 (4, Interesting)

Sierpinski (266120) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

just use this program (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20316913)

Re:Another suggestion (2, Informative)

Deag (250823) | more than 7 years ago | (#20316947)

This [heavens-above.com] website is good for this. I used it for looking at the ISS and it was accurate.

Re:Another suggestion (5, Informative)

CraftyJack (1031736) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317077)

You're thinking of JTrack:
science.nasa.gov/realtime/jtrack/3d/JTrack3D.html

Re:Another suggestion (3, Interesting)

Sierpinski (266120) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317311)

You're thinking of JTrack:
science.nasa.gov/realtime/jtrack/3d/JTrack3D.html


That is the one! Thanks for the link. I did a very feeble search earlier and couldn't find it.

Re:Another suggestion (1)

JeremyBanks (1036532) | more than 7 years ago | (#20318979)

Why was this post modded up and not the one that actually contained the link?

Re:Another suggestion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20319419)

Probably because Craftyjack is quite a new user, and so his post may have been at 0 (new user modifier defaults to on, IIRC). This means that the mods that modded up the reply didn't see the original post, only Sierpinski's reply, and being the lazy cunts they are they modded up the wrong post!

Celestia (1)

castrox (630511) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317151)

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.

Re:Celestia (1)

Mad Marlin (96929) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317913)

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:Celestia (1)

Tangent128 (1112197) | more than 7 years ago | (#20319353)

You ever try zooming all the way out to the full Milky Way, then telling it to Goto Sol? (Gives me whiplash.)

Re:Another suggestion (1)

Mechanik (104328) | more than 7 years ago | (#20319037)

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.

Here is a link to the NASA site [nasa.gov] you are talking about.

Even Google does this, it would only be civilian satellites. I doubt the US government would be happy if Al Queda or whomever could log on to Google Earth and see when there are no spy satellites overhead.

I wonder if any satellite enthusiasts have "reverse engineered" where these satellites are. The fact is that these things are in the sky for all to see with a telescope at least in theory. 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.

Food for thought anyway...

Re:Another suggestion (1)

internewt (640704) | more than 7 years ago | (#20319459)

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.

yay (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20316875)

yay

So what's the next step? (2, Funny)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | more than 7 years ago | (#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:So what's the next step? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20316995)

As if the internet didn't provide enough porn already.

Re:So what's the next step? (1)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | more than 7 years ago | (#20319187)

So why did your comment get modded Insightful while mine was Funny? Man, I would pay for some Google Mind records of the mods in this thread.

Re:So what's the next step? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317017)

My money is on Google Oceans. Images and locations of known shipwrecks. Links to video perhaps.

Re:So what's the next step? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317333)

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.

Re:So what's the next step? (1)

bomanbot (980297) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317653)

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 ;-)

Kids these days (4, Funny)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 7 years ago | (#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?"

Re:Kids these days (1)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317133)

FTFA:

"Longest lunar eclipse in 7 years expected
WASHINGTON, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- People across the western United States will have the best opportunity early Aug. 38 to witness the longest lunar eclipse in seven years."

In Soviet Russia, Aug. 38 awaits you.

Re:Kids these days (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317327)

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.

Re:Kids these days (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317347)

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!

Re:Kids these days (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317629)

"The Sky Channel" "The Outside Channel" or "Station Reality"...!

Re:Kids these days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20320069)

On Aug. 38, the moon will become completely immersed?
I think that story's all wet!

If it's been released, where's the link (3, Interesting)

ahecht (567934) | more than 7 years ago | (#20316975)

The article doesn't have a download link, and a Google search turns up nothing. Where's the link?

Re:If it's been released, where's the link (2, Insightful)

zetes (110457) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317291)

If you download the latest version of Google Earth, it is built-in. There is a button to "Switch between Sky and Earth". Works well so far for me.

Z

yuo Fail it!? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20317011)

or mislead the SLING yOu can fucking percent of deliver. Some of

You hear it here first (2, Interesting)

12357bd (686909) | more than 7 years ago | (#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...

Re:You hear it here first (1)

anjin-san 3 (983912) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317635)

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.

But, still no roads in Mexico on maps.google? (3, Funny)

sillyphisher1 (1100841) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317037)

Google can map 200 million galaxies in 3-D but can't come up with a road map of Mexico? What's up?

Re:But, still no roads in Mexico on maps.google? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20317117)

First mexico needs to build this thing called "roads."

Re:But, still no roads in Mexico on maps.google? (4, Funny)

mce (509) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317173)

Didn't you know that eternal history of both earth and the universe revolves around the US? After all, have serious aliens ever landed outside the US? Whenever they threatened the world, haven't they destroyed New-York or Washington in particular? The Martians don't care about Mexico. Ask Hollywood, those people can know first hand.

Re:But, still no roads in Mexico on maps.google? (2, Interesting)

Kenji DRE (1020807) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317535)

Yes, i can confirm this. Aliens always aim for the Statue of Liberty in New York first.

Re:But, still no roads in Mexico on maps.google? (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317567)

Forget Mexico, when was the last time you saw aliens blow up anything in the flyover states? NYC, Washington, LA, maybe SF or Vegas if they fancy a change. That's about it.

Re:But, still no roads in Mexico on maps.google? (1)

cylcyl (144755) | more than 7 years ago | (#20318433)

So, aliens are conservative? Which is why they keep on attacking the areas where the liberals congregate

Re:But, still no roads in Mexico on maps.google? (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 7 years ago | (#20319657)

They're certainly 'small c' conservative - how many times do Exposition characters have to tell our protagonist that humans' hunger for exploration and new things is what makes us unique?

Anyone wanting to make comments about the political opinions of these people invading a developing planet in order to steal its resources while claiming that they're actually bringing order is on their own, however...

Re:But, still no roads in Mexico on maps.google? (1)

aldo.gs (985038) | more than 7 years ago | (#20318807)

It would actually be really helpful a feature like that. I'm not asking for 3d buildings or things like that, but roads (well placed, that is) would be awesome. But then, as some pointed out, the aliens hopefully are not interested in our destruction.

Tattoine (1)

bamsebomsen (1146053) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317097)

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.

Re:Tattoine (1)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 7 years ago | (#20318637)

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!

Here we go... (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317099)

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.

Re:Here we go... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317405)

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.

Google should keep out of politics (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20317101)

1- Go to www.google.com

2- Type in "Failure", without the quotes

3- Instead of hitting "Search" hit "I'm feeling Lucky" - this is important!

4- See what comes up!

5- Tell your friends before the people at Google fix it.

Google needs to stay out of politics.

Re:Google should keep out of politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20318901)

A wikipedia entry describing failure. Yes, Google need to stay out of.. um.. Answering search queries.

kstars desktop planetarium (1)

Toffins (1069136) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317115)

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 stars with a scope using the "night vision" viewing mode to avoid ruining your eyes' dark adaptation.

Re:kstars desktop planetarium (1)

griffjon (14945) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317213)

Stellarium's pretty good too, for just star-gazing. Though Celestia still rocks in terms of flying around the solar system/galaxy/whatever.

Only two years behind World Wind now.. (1)

AnswerIs42 (622520) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317155)

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".

This should make life easier (1)

Timberwolf0122 (872207) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317175)

Now scientist can just use google to find darkmatter/ET/Extra solar planets

Its about time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20317177)

The first thing I thought of when i zoomed out fully of google earth was, "they should really make a app for that sky. Its just where that sort of thing should go..."

(c) google (2, Funny)

Speare (84249) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317203)

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:(c) google (2, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 7 years ago | (#20318995)

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 search anymore, they are about data management and distributed computing. Huge datasets they time and again prove to manage effectively and reliably. Earth, images, movies - all huge datasets, that require specialised database infrastructure. I have more and more the feeling that they do all this partly for fun, partly because they can, and partly simply as experiment. Images are relative large sets of data, especially when you have millions of them, and they are in high resolutions, possibly stored even with limited compression to make the stitching together part easier.

I've been playing with Google Earth now and then, and I love the street view. It's truly impressive how one can turn around in the street, with the images following. Borderlines between images may be a bit patchy at time, but considering it is all done automatically it's quite impressive. There is a lot of processing power behind that (they probably borrow some of my computer as well, but still).

Google by now has probably the most computing power of any company in the world. I wouldn't be surprised if full percentages of the world's computing power are in hands of Google already. Most of all I hope they stay true to their "do no evil" mantra, as I'm sure there is a lot of good that can come out of these experiments.

Re:(c) google (1)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 7 years ago | (#20319185)

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.

Re:(c) google (1)

internewt (640704) | more than 7 years ago | (#20320045)

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 lazier, I mean that if the government say XYZ, the reporters report XYZ, instead of doing real journalism and digging into why the government say XYZ. Real journalism potential leads to your source "killing himself" and the inevitable enquiry [wikipedia.org] .

I think that this laziness is starting to manifest itself elsewhere too. The BBC coverage of the climate protests at Heathrow airport recently were reported such that the protesters were the major problem, not the fact that x thousand people feel they need to do something about climate change, and how maybe those people have a point. They seemed to really focus on how the police were being restrained and not using force.... they seemed to be implying praise of the police.

And that biker who was shot on the M40. The general attitude I felt the BBC was giving out initially was that it happened because he was at a biker festival. I heard mention yesterday that the police have had a lot of calls from the public about the shooting, but nothing from the Hells Angels that it is alleged that the biker was a member of. The way the Beeb phrased it it was like "even his so called friends in the gang don't want to help".

So yeah, the BBC writing long articles about Google Earth..... they don't have to even leave the computer, let alone the office to write that article.

Millennium Falcon (3, Funny)

dogmatixpsych (786818) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317207)

If Han Solo had only had this software he could have mapped out the best route and made the Kessel Run in 9 parsecs.

Oh, those kinds of stars... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20317305)

And here I thought it was going to be a plug-in that would allow people to track sitings of movie stars, post pictures of Lindsey Lohan's arrest, upload pictures from various weddings, events, etc.

Hmmm, I wonder which would be more popular...

Paging Sir Clarke... (1)

Minwee (522556) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317363)

I have only one reaction to this.

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

Re:Paging Sir Clarke... (1)

coren2000 (788204) | more than 7 years ago | (#20318197)

All these worlds are yours, except Europa. Attempt no landings there.

Sky in Google Earth is 99.9999% accurate (3, Interesting)

GamEmpire (1099027) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317471)

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. Google Sky is an actual real representation of the sky. People who say the project is half finished because the plates aren't stiched together properly are complete idiots, because its impossible to compose one complete image of the sky from thousands of "digital plates" and keep the data accurate. Sky in Google Earth data is 99.9999% accurate, and is only off by like half an arcsecond in some places.

Check out Celestia (5, Informative)

voislav98 (1004117) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Seems interesting... (1)

complete loony (663508) | more than 7 years ago | (#20317685)

... 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.

this sounds good (1)

j1mc (912703) | more than 7 years ago | (#20318139)

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.

Many thanks, Google, (1)

dayjn (942897) | more than 7 years ago | (#20318261)

for making such useful, interesting software for free. Keep up the good work.

The "3D rendition" is the biggest news (1)

roystgnr (4015) | more than 7 years ago | (#20318495)

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.

Doesn't run in Panther (1)

HaveNoMouth (556104) | more than 7 years ago | (#20319009)

For the three people out there still running Mac OSX 10.3.9 like me, be aware this latest version of GE requires 10.4. Unlike the previous version of GE which ran just fine in 10.3, this one complains as soon as you launch it. It would have been nice if Google had mentioned this on their web site before I bothered to download it. But as of now, their FAQ page still says "Minimum configuration... Mac OS X 10.3.9" which was true for version 4.0.

Why don't I upgrade to Tiger? Mostly laziness. Plus Spotlight sucks and I was hoping to just skip to Leopard, where maybe Apple will have come to their senses and fixed the damned Spotlight UI.

Stellarium's Great Advantages (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#20319031)

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.

Apparently it uses H. A. Rey's constellation lines (1)

IronClad (114176) | more than 7 years ago | (#20319257)

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.

From the horse's mouth..... (1)

dickeya (733264) | more than 7 years ago | (#20319563)

Google LatLong Blog Post [blogspot.com]

When will they do this for other planets? (1)

dottyslashdottydot (1008859) | more than 7 years ago | (#20319653)

I realize that they have released google mars [google.com] , and google moon [google.com] , but these are just web browser based 2D views of the respective celestial bodies. Wouldn't it be cool if they put these into the Google Earth interface? Imagine being able to virtually fly around and see features such as Olympus Mons in 3D?
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