Google Unveils “Astronomical YouTube” in Sky

In the latest version of Google Earth, Google has recently announced that it will include a new update: Google Sky, an image gallery of the night sky.

When you want to switch from "Earth" to "Sky," the program will give you the view directly above your location.

Crab Nebula: 6 light years acrossCrab Nebula: 6 light years acrossGoogle Sky includes images of more than 100 million stars, and 200 million galaxies. The images come from a variety of sources, including the Space Telescope Science Institute, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the CalTech Palomar Observatory, the United Kingdom Astronomy Technology Centre and the Anglo-Australian Observatory.

Although other stargazing programs already exist, Google Sky is the first to allow amateur astronomers to upload their own images. So far, the program has also been applauded for its easy-to-use interface, where more than 20,000 celestial objects can be searched by name. Sky also includes names of constellations, information on astronomical objects, and plenty of zoom, rotate and click features.

In an interview with New Scientist, astronomer Francisco Diego of University College London has predicted that it could be "a kind of astronomical YouTube." He thinks that Google may become overwhelmed with information contributed by amateur astronomers, many of whom have made original discoveries, such as finding new supernovae.

You can watch a short product demo of Google Earth here .

Lisa Zyga
Science Blogger