Google Launches Sky Online

Google has just released a version of Google Sky that can be viewed in your browser, very similar to Google Maps.

The interface is very similar to Google Maps, but with some sky-based changes. The main change is that the tools which are normally “Map”, “Satellite” and “Terrain” have now become “Backyard Astronomy”, “Infrared”, “Microwave” and “Historical”. I think they’re pretty self-explanatory.

Enough talk — go check it out! Here are some screens if you just want a quick peek:

Google SkyGoogle SkyGoogle Sky

Updates — A few other sites have more detailed reviews of this product:

Microsoft’s answer to Google Earth Sky set to launch on February 27

Outer SpaceAccording to TechCrunch, Microsoft is set to unveil a product called “Worldwide Telescope” on February 27. This product will be used through a Windows-only downloadable application.

It sounds a whole lot like the “Sky Mode” in Google Earth. From the article:

Users will be able to pan around the nighttime sky and zoom as far in to any one area as the data will allow. Microsoft is said to be tapping the Hubble telescope as well as ten or so earth bound telescopes around the world for data. When you find an area you like, you can switch to a number of different views, such as infrared and non-visible light.

They say it will be much better than Google Sky for two reasons:

  • More data, which sounds reasonable. I don’t have the numbers to say for sure if that’s accurate or not, but it certainly sounds like this will launch with a TON of data.
  • A better user interface, which is “seamless as you move around the sky and zoom in and out”.

I don’t know about you, but Sky mode in Google Earth is pretty seamless to me, especially with the SpaceNavigator. I sure hope Microsoft includes support for it when they release this new product.

New layers in Google Sky

As reported by Ogle Earth, Google Sky now has a handful of new layers. They include:

  • Featured Observatories
  • Current Sky Events
  • Education Center
  • Historical Sky Maps

Good stuff. Go check em out.

Update: Some commentary from Google Earth Blog and the official announcement from Google.

Google Earth Sky

James Stafford (aka “Barnabu” at the Google Earth Community) has created a cool way to show a realistic sky in Google Earth.  He’s written about it in his blog, and Frank Taylor at the Google Earth Blog has two posts about it as well.