Google Earth 4.2 Released – New Night Sky Feature

Last night, Google pushed out a new beta version of Google Earth called 4.2 (download it here). Read the announcement here. This version adds a substantial new feature (many are calling it Google Sky) which lets you not only look down on the Earth, but also look up at the night sky and see the starry heavens through the perspective of the world’s most powerful telescopes. You simply click on a button at the top center of the new version and it switches to this new mode. Then, you can use the same type of navigation as always in Google Earth to zoom in and look at the stars, galaxies, nebulas, etc. of the universe. You also see a new set of layers on the bottom left which let you show/hide the constellations, and take tours of famous collections of amazing sights in the heavens like the Andromeda Galaxy, the Horsehead Nebula, the Ring Nebula, etc. Not only that, but you can use the same tools of Google Earth to placemark your own favorite places and share them with others. Simply click on the same control button in the upper center to switch back to Earth viewing.
Night Sky in Google Earth 4.2
This new version also has support for new features announced at the Google Developers Day last May for a new KML version called 2.2, and it hopefully addresses a number of problems from the last beta version of GE 4.1, which most of you have been using for the past few months.
I will be doing a more thorough review of features during the course of the day. I’ve already found out that the new Sky feature does not (added in the latest version) support the SpaceNavigator. A big disappointment since it would be so much fun to fly through the sky with my favorite 3D mouse. In the meantime, read some more details on the new release from Stefan Geens at OgleEarth (who had the advantage of waking up 5 hours earlier than me).
Here’s a video I’ve put together showing the new Google Sky feature:

Also, here is a story with video showing the new photo viewer in GE 4.2.
Read on for more information on GE 4.2.

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.


  1. Amazing! It’s just like World Wind. I can’t seem to use my SpaceNavigator, though… Can Google also add a “subsurface” mode, which enables viewing underground (or under water) features?

  2. Go Google Earth! This is amazing!

  3. Awesome!
    Very exciting feature.

  4. Well, I think that is still a bit ahead. Fist of all – it’s real web-based, second – it has all objects mapped, then – it has articles related to many objects and finally – it has SDSS, IRAS, H-alpha integrated. And we soon will have DSS2 integrated as well. We would like to find the way to cooperate with Google and looking for contacts. If you can help – we will appreciate it. Thanks,
    K. Lysenko,

  5. Looks like the Space Navigator doesn’t work in the Sky view, while it’s great in the Earth view. Weird.
    Good feature added to GE but it’s not as good as Stellarium … yet!

  6. gazing@stars says

    Will there be international versions of the constellations layer? Since cultures other than the default western one used have created different constellations using different combinations of stars (e.g. Russians)….

  7. Actually I saw this on CNN yesterday and i must say I am impressed. Soon no one would need any personal telescopes!! Perhaps Google would have multi-angle or multiple telescopes that people can buy time on?

  8. I had the ordinary version of google earth on my computor, it worked a treat i could zoom in really close.
    I had to re store my computor, when we did and tried to update to 4.2.
    Now i cannot get even our street.
    Help please

  9. You can find the old version of Google Earth here –
    Choose Google Earth 3.0.0762 (11 MB) thats probably the one your looking for!

  10. silly question,is there a google earth that gives you nearly upto date images

  11. Gerard Flugaur says

    Now that I have downloaded Google Earth, how do I start using it. How do I get to the page were I can use all the things you say I should be able to do. I have no idea what to do to access these items that sound so great. No icon. when I go to google, other than the usual, there is nothing to get me into the program. I’ve spent enough time on it to no avial. If I can’t even get started, what good is it. Very poor instructions. Yes I see the instructions that will tell to do what ever, when I in the programe, but how so I get into those pages to do what I’m s’posed to do.

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.