Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Sky in Google Earth

Given the name of this blog, you might understand why I'm excited by the latest offering from Google. They have just released a new version of their popular Google Earth software that include the ability to show the night sky above any point on the planet.

Rather than list all the features, I've link to their features video:

In addition to the features shown in the video above, users and organizations have already created special KML files that all the user to explore their sky in an interactive and intuitive way. These KML "tours" include (links will open in Google Earth, if installed):

While this is very exciting news, it's not exactly bug-free. While exploring the interface, I saw a long, winding feature that I couldn't recognize. When I zoomed in, I discovered it was a portion of the 2007 Tour de France route (which I had added to my local data layers). Interestingly, the route is displayed with East and West reversed, which is logical if GE is displaying the sky layers on the "inside" of a projected sphere, with the observer at the center, instead of looking in...

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