Sky News Roundup: New Horizon, SpaceNavigator, Google plans for Sky

The new Sky feature in Google Earth 4.2 just keeps getting better. Here’s some new things for you to use and explore with Sky:

  • New Horizon Add-on for Sky in Google Earth

    New Horizon Add-on for Sky – I previously mentioned about a Horizon add-on for Google Earth which was created by Michael Kosowsky of He E-mailed me today to let me know he had incorporated some suggestions I made for the add-on. You can now not only produce a horizon for your particular position on the Earth, but also get a version which uses the time slider feature of Google Earth to show you the horizon during the course of the day or night. He also has tried to simplify the steps for creating the KML add-on file. Here are some instructions from his e-mail:

    To try it all out, head over to this web page.
    Find yourself on the map. Select the next to last option (a
    full day at one hour intervals) and hit “Submit.” When Google
    Earth opens up with our overlays, open the “Sun, Moon, planets”
    layer and double-click on “Sun” to center it, then start the
    animation. You should be able to watch the Sun cross your
    horizon. (Actually, your horizon crosses the Sun; you’ll understand
    what I mean when you try it.)
    Quick tips for running the animation: A slider appears on the top
    right of the window when you load an animation. Hit the big
    arrow to the right and stuff should move. There’s a cursor you
    can manually drag. Click on the icon that looks like a clock to
    the left of the slider to set options. More documentation here and here.

    Note that if you save the network link in your My Places you will automatically have the horizon when you need it.

  • SpaceNavigator – The newest version of GE 4.2 (version 4.2.0196 was just released today – 12-September) now supports the very cool 3D mouse called the SpaceNavigator in the Sky mode. However, two of the axes are not set properly – you can fix this by bringing up the 3DConnexion control panel (usually the right button on the 3D mouse brings it up). Go to the Advanced settings pane and reverse the axes for “Pan Up/Down” and “Spin”. Now it will work properly in Sky, and its a great way to explore the Sky mode. But, when you go back to Google Earth, you have to reset the axes again. Hopefully, Google will get this fixed soon.

  • Google plans for Sky – Google, and the team of professional astronomers who helped develop Sky, have grand plans for getting the astronomy community to embrace Google Earth’s Sky mode. You can read a paper they’ve submitted here, and the full paper here (PDF). OgleEarth’s Stefan Geens summarizes some significant highlights from the paper here. I think this is great thinking, and have already encouraged some of my astronomer friends to look into it.

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.


  1. This hit my funny bone: I left the planisphere turned on accidentally when I next started up Google Earth. Well, I suddenly was seeing planet placemarks over certain places on the Earth. It suddenly jumped into my mind: Astrologers can now use this new tool to give us new horiscope readings! (This is very funny to me because as an astronomer I abhor the way people confuse astronomy with astrology).

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