It’s a big day for astronomy buffs. Google has announced an enhancement to its popular interactive mapping software, Google Earth, that incorporates more than one million photos from the Hubble Space Telescope, the Palomar Observatory, and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. The feature, called Sky, stitches together the pictures to reveal stars, galaxies, and planets.
The project grew from a handful of Google engineers’ basic interest in astronomy and in sharing that information with the public. At this point, the company has no plans to make money from Sky.
One of the most exciting aspects of this announcement is that, as with Google Earth, anyone can make mashups with Sky, overlaying extra information to enhance its value. Already, constellation outlines have been added, as well as guides to backyard stargazing and an animation of lunar positions. Researchers are developing mashups of cosmic explosions as well. As more mashups are added, it’ll be fascinating to watch and see how amateurs and professionals make the sky a more interactive place.
Screen shots from Sky:
How AI is reinventing what computers are
Three key ways artificial intelligence is changing what it means to compute.
These weird virtual creatures evolve their bodies to solve problems
They show how intelligence and body plans are closely linked—and could unlock AI for robots.
A horrifying new AI app swaps women into porn videos with a click
Deepfake researchers have long feared the day this would arrive.
Surgeons have successfully tested a pig’s kidney in a human patient
The test, in a brain-dead patient, was very short but represents a milestone in the long quest to use animal organs in human transplants.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.