[0709.0752] Sky in Google Earth: The Next Frontier in Astronomical Data Discovery and Visualization

Authors:  Ryan Scranton, Andrew Connolly, Simon Krughoff, Jeremy Brewer, Alberto Conti, Carol Christian, Craig Sosin, Greg Coombe, Paul Heckbert
Abstract:  Astronomy began as a visual science, first through careful observations of the sky using either an eyepiece or the naked eye, then on to the preservation of those images with photographic media and finally the digital encoding of that information via CCDs. This last step has enabled astronomy to move into a fully automated era -- where data is recorded, analyzed and interpreted often without any direct visual inspection. Sky in Google Earth completes that circle by providing an intuitive visual interface to some of the largest astronomical imaging surveys covering the full sky. By streaming imagery, catalogs, time domain data, and ancillary information directly to a user, Sky can provide the general public as well as professional and amateur astronomers alike with a wealth of information for use in education and research. We provide here a brief introduction to Sky in Google Earth, focusing on its extensible environment, how it may be integrated into the research process and how it can bring astronomical research to a broader community. With an open interface available on Linux, Mac OS X and Windows, applications developed within Sky are accessible not just within the Google framework but through any visual browser that supports the Keyhole Markup Language. We present Sky as the embodiment of a virtual telescope.
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David Larson
Posts: 11
Joined: September 25 2004
Affiliation: Johns Hopkins University

[0709.0752] Sky in Google Earth: The Next Frontier in Astro

Post by David Larson » September 08 2007

Google Sky looks like a good tool for (1) public outreach, (2) figuring out the larger context of an observation---where was a Hubble image taken, how near the galactic plane it was, etc---and (3) overlaying various observations at different wavelengths and looking for correlations.

Are there other scientific applications that I'm missing?

Savvas Nesseris
Posts: 67
Joined: April 05 2005
Affiliation: UAM/IFT
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[0709.0752] Sky in Google Earth: The Next Frontier in Astron

Post by Savvas Nesseris » September 10 2007

Another great application is Celestia. It is a 3d space explorer that allows the user to roam the universe! It uses the Hipparchos star database, real photos for the mesh of the planets and more!

Cheers,
Savas

David Larson
Posts: 11
Joined: September 25 2004
Affiliation: Johns Hopkins University

[0709.0752] Sky in Google Earth: The Next Frontier in Astr

Post by David Larson » September 10 2007

Are there other scientific applications that I'm missing?
Oops, I guess I meant to say "uses", instead of "applications", since I meant to ask for other applications of Google Sky for scientific use. But it's good to know what other software is out there, too.

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