London UK, (August 22, 2007) – Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) today announced the launch of Sky, a new feature that enables users of Google Earth to view the sky as seen from planet Earth.
With Sky, users will be able to float through the skies via Google Earth. This easy-to-use tool enables all Earth users to view and navigate through 100 million individual stars and 200 million galaxies. High resolution imagery and informative overlays create a unique playground for visualizing and learning about space.
To access Sky, users will need only click “Switch to Sky” from the “view” drop-down menu in Google Earth, or click the Sky button on the Google Earth toolbar. The interface and navigation are similar to that of standard Google Earth steering, including dragging, zooming, search, “My Places,” and layer selection.
As part of the new feature, Google is introducing seven informative layers that illustrate various celestial bodies and events:
Sky was created by Google’s Pittsburgh engineering team by stitching together imagery from numerous scientific third parties including the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), the Digital Sky Survey Consortium (DSSC), CalTech’s Palomar Observatory, the United Kingdom Astronomy Technology Centre (UK ATC), and the Anglo-Australian Observatory (AAO). The initiative was born out of the University of Washington’s participation with the Google Visiting Faculty Program, which makes it possible for leading academic researchers to visit Google with their work for 6-12 month periods.
Lior Ron, Product Manager at Google said:
“We’re excited to provide users with rich astronomical imagery and enhanced content that enables them to both learn about what they’re seeing and tell their own stories. By working with some of the industry’s leading experts, we’ve been able to transform Google Earth into a virtual telescope.”
Dr Francisco Diego, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, University College London said:
“Just as we are about to celebrate the 400th anniversary of telescope astronomy, this initiative will open a new window for anyone to be able to appreciate, explore and discover our fragile position in this vast and amazing Universe. Google has created an imaginative, powerful and unique tool, using modern technology to help people understand more about science.”
Dr. Carol Christian of STScI, who co-led the organization’s Sky team with Dr. Alberto Conti said:
“Never before has a roadmap of the entire sky been made so readily available. Anyone interested in exploring the wonders of our universe can quickly see where the stunning objects photographed by Hubble actually dwell in the heavens. Sky in Google Earth will foster and initiate new understanding of the universe by bringing it to everyone’s home computer.”
Professor Ian Robson, Director of the UK Astronomy Technology Centre (ATC) said:
“The UK ATC has opened up its archives to Sky, providing two decades of images from the UK Schmidt Telescope which was built to survey the skies of the Southern Hemisphere and reveal the stars, constellations and galaxies only visible from there.”
The announcement follows last month’s inclusion of the NASA layer group in Google Earth, showcasing NASA’s Earth exploration. The group has three main components, including Astronaut Photography of Earth, Satellite Imagery, and Earth City Lights. Astronaut Photography of Earth showcases photographs of the Earth as seen from space from the early 1960s on, while Satellite Imagery highlights Earth images taken by NASA satellites over the years and Earth City Lights traces well-lit cities across the globe.
To access Sky in Google Earth, users need to download the newest version of Google Earth, available at: earth.google.com/sky/index.html. The feature will be available on all Google Earth domains, in 13 languages.
Google Earth combines satellite imagery, maps and the power of Google’s search service to make the world’s geographic information easily accessible and useful. There have been over 200 million unique downloads of Google Earth since the product’s launch in June, 2005. Google Earth can be downloaded for free at earth.google.com.
Google’s innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major global markets. Google’s targeted advertising program provides businesses of all sizes with measurable results, while enhancing the overall web experience for users. Google is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information, visit www.google.com.
For further information and photos contact: Laura Ainsworth on 0207 031 3130 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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