Just a quick note that Google has updated the layers for the Sky mode of Google Earth (viewable with GE 4.2 or the new 4.3 beta). We last had a big update to the Sky layers in January. So, I’m kind of surprised to see even more data added. But, I’m not going to complain!
So, today’s update includes several new layers:
Current Sky Events – This layer folder now has two new additions: 1) Hubblecast – a layer of placemarks showing video clips from the Hubble Space Telescope team showing science mini-documentaries on various astronomical topics. The placemarks show the location of the objects discussed. 2) StarDate – StarDate is the public education and outreach arm of the University of Texas McDonald Observatory. These are radio broadcasts available in English and Spanish, and again placemark places discussed in each clip.
Education Center – This layer folder also has two new additions: 1) Celestron Skyscout – another astronomy layer which comes from the Celestron telescope company. They have developed Skyscout, which is a “personal planetarium” device that lets you point at objects in the sky and tells you what you are looking at (Read more about Skyscout). I’m guessing this layer is a sample of the content you would get if you had one of these Skyscout devices. 2) Virtual Tourism – this is a much more interesting layer. The layer actually comes from a project by Keir Clarke at Virtual Tourism. He created a Google Maps mashup called Star Viewer which uses the Sky API to show astronomy video clips. Now its a built-in layer for Google Earth’s Sky.
There seems to be some problems with the “Our Solar System” layer at the moment. First, there seem to be two copies of each planet in slightly different positions. Double clicking on the planet in the layers doesn’t fly you to the location either.