Google Sky Shows NASA Map of the Stars

Google Sky
Screen capture

Google has a history of partnering with NASA to bring the same Google Earth/Google Maps geographic visualization features to heavenly bodies. Google Sky is a feature of Google Earth, just like Google Moon and Google Mars. 

You can use Google Sky to view a map of the stars in the night sky. You can also use Google Sky from your Android phone or tablet in order to view a virtual version of the stars.

Possible uses from your phone include finding constellations for night viewing, viewing the sky in the city or in other conditions that have too much light pollution, viewing a virtual version of the night sky when it is cloudy, or viewing the stars during the daytime. Google Sky also has NASA and other international collections of images of space that you can view from your desktop or mobile device in much the same way that you would view tourist pictures of remote locations on Google Earth or Google Maps. 

Using Google Sky on Your Desktop Web Browser

From your desktop computer:

  • Navigate to Google Sky by going to Google Sky from your browser. 
  • Use your cursor to click-hold and drag in order to move to a new location. 
  • Explore the NASA and telescope pictures of nebulas and other scenic features by clicking on them in the showcase film roll on the bottom of the screen.
  • Each image leads to a showcase collection of more images, such as the "Chandra X-Ray" showcase collection. 
  • Each time you click on an image with more available information, you will see an info box that gives you details about the image, including what you are viewing, photo credit for the image, and a link to more material on the subject. For example, images within the Chandra X-Ray collection include links to detailed information about each nebula. 

    (The Chandra X-Ray Observatory is a NASA orbiting satellite telescope designed to detect X-rays in "hot" areas of the universe, so the photos taken by Chandra are particularly colorful and brilliant.) 

    From Your Desktop (Google Earth)

    Sky is also activated by clicking on the planet button on the top of the Google Earth application window if you still use the desktop version of Google Earth

    You can also use this to view Google Mars and Google Moon. 

    Sky uses featured layer content in Google Earth, and you can search for constellations and other heavenly bodies by typing keywords in the search box, just as you can search for addresses in Google Earth.

    From Your Mobile Device

    You can't get to Google Sky from the Google Earth Android app. There is likely just too much data for an app to handle and needs to be separated out into two apps. Sky Map is the app that currently allows you to view Google Sky data on your Android device. However, this app is no longer being supported by Google. It has been open sourced. Development has slowed. 

    The Sky Map app was originally developed during "Twenty percent time." (Google employees are allowed to spend twenty percent of their time on pet projects with management approval.) It was never a high priority for maintenance.

    The app was originally developed to showcase the gyro sensors on early Android phones.   

    You can also view Google Sky from your phone's web browser, but it doesn't take advantage of the phone's gyro sensors or react well to the smaller screen size. 

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