Headlines > News > Google brings the cosmos down to Earth

Google brings the cosmos down to Earth

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Aug 22, 2007 1:33 pm
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(ESA) – Imagine cruising the heavens from your desktop and seeing all the spectacular images from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Exploding stars and faraway galaxies are just a mouse click away today through ‘Sky in Google Earth’.

‘Sky in Google Earth’ is produced by Google, and can be downloaded free of charge with the newest version of Google Earth. Several elements of Sky in Google Earth have been contributed by ESA.

With Sky in Google Earth, you can travel across the vastness of the night sky, making tour stops at 125 of the most popular Hubble images. Though these celestial objects are far away from Earth, you can reach them in a few seconds with Sky in Google Earth.

Travellers can begin their celestial tour by selecting ‘Switch to Sky’ from the ‘view’ drop-down menu in Google Earth. From here, an object, such as the Eagle Nebula – the so-called pillars of creation – or even a category, such as colliding galaxies, can be selected from a menu. You will first get a view of the sky showing the constellations surrounding your selected object. As you zoom in, the constellations disappear and your chosen object emerges from the background.

The Hubble images are set within a background of real stars and galaxies taken by two powerful visible-light surveys of the heavens, the Digitized Sky Survey and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. The Digitized Sky Survey comprises photographic surveys of nearly the entire sky and contains about a million objects. The Sloan survey comprises images of hundreds of millions of much fainter objects and covers more than a quarter of the sky.

“The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between ESA and NASA and we are now happy to see that, thanks to Hubble’s wonderful images, Sky in Google Earth is like having the heavens at your fingertips. ESA has already had a partnership with Google Earth for the provision of spectacular Earth images since 2006.” said Fernando Doblas, Head of ESA Communication.

Pretty pictures are not the only part of this versatile program. Click on the icon of the HubbleSite logo and information on the object taken from the press release or photo caption will appear. Sky in Google Earth also will provide links to the Hubble news database and other Hubble information. Newly released Hubble pictures will be added to the Sky in Google Earth program as soon as they are issued. Sky in Google Earth is produced by Google, through a partnership with Space Telescope Science Institute, Hubble’s home institute.

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