Google has decided to make Google Sky available online, just like the powerful Google Maps. Up to now Google Sky was just a feature added in the latest version of Google Earth software, the ultimate digital atlas of geography. Now you can gaze at stars, constellations and other celestial elements from the comfort of your web browser.
Though a bit clunky sometimes – and quite slow when opening certain menus – Google Sky is a great resource of information and spatial imagery for all astronomy fans. The web’s interface is similar to that of Google Maps so you’ll soon get the knack of it: you can move around with your mouse, zoom in and out and view images in different styles (infrared, microwave, backyard astronomy) just like the satellite and terrain options in Google Maps. What’s more, you can click on many elements to display a window with basic data and a link to extended information.
The web version of Google Sky also includes special categories to easily browse constellations, galaxies and even the Solar System, where a click on Earth will open a new browser tab with Google Maps. But the most powerful feature in Google Sky is its embedded search tool, which you can use to locate any celestial object by its name.