New Starry Sky in Google Earth 7.1

Frank Taylor here, and I’m writing today to share my happiness of a feature in the new Google Earth 7.1 released on Monday. It contains a new feature I first suggested to Google many years ago (around 2006). To Google’s credit, they finally implemented a more realistic, pretty version of the night sky which not only includes brighter looking stars, but also a nice backdrop of the Milky Way. The stars’ positions, and their position in the sky appear to be correct in the new sky. Here’s what it looks like from deep space with the “Sun” option turned on to darken the appearance of the Earth:

Google Earth 7.1 night sky

The new night sky also appears from the ground if you turn on the “Sun” option (“View->Sun”) and use the time slider to make it night. This assumes you have the atmosphere turned on (more on a new feature for the atmosphere in this post). Here’s a view from St. Louis just after sunset:

Google Earth 7.1 Night View St. Louis

Way to go Google! It’s really great to see a better rendition of the starry skies!

Google did do a really cool night sky for GE in a different way starting in 2007 – a feature which is still supported in 7.1 by selecting the “Planet” icon and choosing “Sky”.

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 new feature Looks fantastic on my iMac 27! Well done Google!

  2. archangelmichael2 says:

    Now how about an option to turn on/off city lights for those who love decent skylines? If you want to view the stars then like I said simply switch it off and watch the difference in light pollution.

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