London: Galileo showed off his telescope nearly 400 years ago. And astronomy has come light-years since then. The latest gadget for the star-struck is Google sky. Now 200 million galaxies could just be a mouse click away.
First there was Google earth where you could pick a destination, say, Buckingham Palace and it would takes you on a ride around the globe, zooming in from space for a close up aerial view of the queen's house.
Now Google has taken the same idea and turned it upside down.
That latest tool is Google sky. It's designed to explore what lies beyond earth, starting with the backyard view of space from anywhere on the planet.
Like Google earth, the sky software delivers a different view of existence to your desktop, but without the same potential for voyeurism.
Scientists say this is exciting because throughout human history people have stared into space and wondered. Now they hope having all this information available, easily in one place, to inspire a new generation to look up and study—what lies beyond.
“We thought we could use that same base technology but put it in reverse and look outwards and use the imagery that the astronomy community has created to produce a really exciting new tool,” said Ed parsons Geospatial Technologist, Google.
The stars and constellations as you would see them above. The images and information are all available elsewhere. But Google says this is the only way you can navigate humankind's collective knowledge of space in one location.
“There are no limits. And when you put this in the hands of millions of people literally, to the great public, in a way that has never done before. This is public outreach for science in a way that is going to be very revolutionary,” said Dr Francisco Diego, University College London.