Here’s a collection of new goodies to play with for Google Earth’s new Sky mode (note, you must have GE 4.2 to see the new Sky mode – read about Sky here).
- Hubble Tracker – Alberto Conti, of the Space Telescope Science Institute – and one of the scientists who developed the data for Sky, has posted a cool network link which lets you see the track and position of the Hubble Space Telescope in Google Earth. It automatically updates every 5 minutes to show you its current position as it orbits the Earth.
- Sky KML Guide – A Googler has written a document explaining how to prepare KML files for Sky. It also explains how to convert the coordinates between normal GE and Sky. via Using Google Earth.
- Horizon Add-on – One of the most frequently requested features in the last week, since Google’s Sky was released, is the need to show a horizon so you can know which stars are visible from your house at the current moment. Michael Kosowsky has created an application that will generate a horizon in Sky, and it shows the position of the sun, moon and planets as well. This technically makes Sky into a “planisphere” showing your sky as it is now. The network link automatically updates to show you the planisphere for the current time. It may be a bit intimidating at first, but follow these instructions and you’ll find it isn’t too hard. These steps are necessary so you get the horizon for your particular location on the Earth. If you are too impatient, here is a KML for London, England .
- First visit his site HeyWhatsThat.com
- Next, check “All Panoramas” at the top and see if your location has already been calculated by looking for it on the map. Or in the list in the View menu. If your location isn’t listed, simply select “New Panorama” at the top and find your location on the map. Follow the instructions to set your location and Submit request. After a couple of minutes you should get a map showing your location.
- Now in the upper right above the map, look for View in Google Earth -> by night and select the night link. You will get a KML file taking you into Google Earth. Choose “Switch to Sky“.
- Once it loads, I recommend you click and drag the “Planisphere” network link for your location from the Temporary Places into your My Places. You can turn it on when you need it the next time you’re looking at Sky. Since it is a network link it will automatically reposition the horizon and planets to their current position.
- For further reading, here are Michael’s technical notes from his FAQ on the horizon feature. It shows you how to do even more with the network link. Great work Michael! I think Google should talk to you about making this a permanent feature in Sky.