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Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
August 22, 2007 7:52 AM   Subscribe

Not content to merely index all things terrestrial, Google Earth now lets you set your sights on the sky.
posted by the painkiller (23 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Damn. I can't even run stupid old 2005 Google Earth on my stupid old computer. I feel like I'm caught in the 18th century.
posted by DU at 8:12 AM on August 22, 2007


As a frequent poster on both Google Earth and starmaps, I just downloaded the program with great anticipation and... I'm a little disappointed. It is a very cool skymap program, but, despite the fact that you can zoom deeply into any patch of sky, it is still missing the sense of scale - of the infinite fractal dimension of zooming into a space and seeing it unfold - that you get from standard Google Earth and programs like Celestia (which is great and free). There is no way to understand how far I am looking from Earth, and how deep into time my vision is, therefore, it is missing a bit of the sense of wonder that a good star program could invoke.

Still, obviously quite cool, but not wondrous.
posted by blahblahblah at 8:15 AM on August 22, 2007


will google ever do the oceans, d'you think?
posted by progosk at 8:21 AM on August 22, 2007


Addendum: playing with it more, it is more engaging and fun than I originally thought (I think my Google expectations were too high), but some indication of scale and distance is still needed.
posted by blahblahblah at 8:24 AM on August 22, 2007


Not just oceans--I want to be able to zoom all the way to the Earth's metallic core.
posted by DU at 8:28 AM on August 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I just downloaded the program with great anticipation and... I'm a little disappointed. It is a very cool skymap program, but, despite the fact that you can zoom deeply into any patch of sky, it is still missing the sense of scale - of the infinite fractal dimension of zooming into a space and seeing it unfold - that you get from standard Google Earth and programs like Celestia (which is great and free).

That's exactly what I thought. I think the difference between google earth and celestia is the difference between zooming in on something far away and walking closer to it. In celestia, you move in the universe. In GE, you are very much limited to the view from earth.

But I think there's an opportunity here. Google excels at feeding you successively higher resolution images over the network so seamlessly. If celestia did what google does with their high res texture maps of other planets, feed them to you as needed over the network, it would obviate the need for vast amounts of memory and drive space to hold some of celestia's massive texture map libraries.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:30 AM on August 22, 2007


Another opportunity for a feature here that i'd like to see is layers for different bands in the EM spectrum - x-ray, infrared, radio, etc. If that's in there now, i've missed it, because i'm frankly having a ton of fun just zooming around...
posted by the painkiller at 8:36 AM on August 22, 2007


will google ever do the oceans, d'you think?
posted by progosk at 11:21 AM on August 22


Look at some recent fpp's. You really don't want to see what's down there. And worse, you really don't want what's down there to see you, because they will feast on your subconscious. True story - Jacques Cousteau's last words on earth were "Beware the id wyrm."

But, you know, in French.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:41 AM on August 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Just wait until the Google Camera Rocket accidentally catches aliens doing blow and buying sex as it zooms past.
posted by freebird at 8:42 AM on August 22, 2007


i worked for a while on a similar project (my work was on the server/data handling behind, not the portal itself, which exequiel, chris and dave worked on, mainly - it is, or at least used to be, rails). it was (obviously) inspired by google maps and is still somewhat experimental. it's also aimed much more at the research community, but i'm sure they'd appreciate a little stress testing if you're curious....
posted by andrew cooke at 8:46 AM on August 22, 2007


Another opportunity for a feature here that i'd like to see is layers for different bands in the EM spectrum - x-ray, infrared, radio, etc. If that's in there now, i've missed it, because i'm frankly having a ton of fun just zooming around...
posted by the painkiller at 11:36 AM on August 22


What you want is the free Digital Universe, from the Hayden Planetarium. Get the full 160MB download. This is what some planetariums use.

You can fly around like in Celestia, but you can toggle on and off certain datasets, like EM bands, objects (pulsars, black holes, etc). It there's scientific data out there about the heavens, it's in here.

The interface takes some getting used to so I recommend about half an hour with the manual to get the full benefit of the program.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:47 AM on August 22, 2007


You should be able to search for addresses and businesses in the cities of the hollow inner earth, too.
posted by agropyron at 9:02 AM on August 22, 2007


In celestia, you move in the universe

<ObYakovSmirnoff>
In Soviet Russia, universe moves in you!
</ObYakovSmirnoff>

Celestia is very cool, but personally I have found myself using Stellarium a lot more often, and the new Google Earth Sky feature sounds pretty comparable to Stellarium, so I think I will be quite happy with this. I'd always wondered if/when someone would create a Google Earth/Stellarium mashup ...
posted by kcds at 9:07 AM on August 22, 2007


This is actually more interesting to me than Google Earth was. It is more awe-inspiring, for one thing.
posted by wires at 9:17 AM on August 22, 2007


I think this deserves the stellarcartography tag.

Finally! Malcolm McDowell can find his ribbon and I can find the Klingon Homeworld!
posted by cowbellemoo at 9:17 AM on August 22, 2007


I am not seeing Gallifrey anywhere.
posted by everichon at 1:00 PM on August 22, 2007


Sweet, now there's one less reason to go outside.
posted by philomathoholic at 1:12 PM on August 22, 2007


I am not seeing Gallifrey anywhere.

Well the Time War must have been in the past then.

[/NEERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRD]
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:14 PM on August 22, 2007


Finally! Malcolm McDowell can find his ribbon and I can find the Klingon Homeworld!

I want to find the homeworld of the Pierson's Puppeteers and those five planets surrounding it in a Klemperer-rosette configuration. Oh, and the Ringworld, too.
posted by pax digita at 5:38 PM on August 22, 2007


And Google is just one step closer to their plan of Total Universe Domination.

I'm not clicking, because I don't want to ruin the magic. As long as I don't look, I can convince myself we are all riding on the back of a giant turtle.
posted by misha at 6:54 PM on August 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Sun should do Sun Sun.. breath taking mantle panoramas, zoom in down to a centimeter resolution. Then, and only then, I would be impressed.
posted by rainy at 8:09 PM on August 22, 2007


Maybe not turtles, but don't forget, when you zoom in close on Google Moon you can see the cheese.
posted by salishsea at 11:05 PM on August 22, 2007


That moon section on google needs a lot more. It appears to be only like a square ... something. It's not very big. Just the area around the apollo landings.
posted by philomathoholic at 1:10 AM on August 23, 2007


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