Google Earth | Sky

Some time ago I've read (I don't remember where) that NASA will cooperate with Google for integrating their large amount of space pictures and celestial maps into Google Earth. Actually the cooperation sounds logic since NASA has the data and Google clearly the infrastructure for storing and displaying it.
I was always fascinated about astronomy and space-related stuff, already when I was in elementary school, then time became shorter in high-school, so I payed less attention to it....however I always kept an eye on news related to it. So it was also when hearing from the news about Google and NASA.
Just take a look at the video below to see Google Sky's capabilities


An alternative product, which I consider at the moment a lot better than the Google Earth | Sky fusion is Stellarium. It is a simple to use open source tool. Everyone can download and use it for free. Moreover there are versions for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. The best is the "easiness of use" since I'm not a professional astronomer :) . You can configure your current location and then the sky (depending on the current time) will be displayed on the screen...









Stellarium: day viewStellarium: night view
Another big difference is also the max. resolution of space-objects. For instance zooming to the Mars with Stellarium and Google gave me the following results:







Google Earth | Sky
Stellarium: night view

There is still quite a difference as I think (on the other side I found very impressive pictures of the "orion nebula"). However one has to keep in mind that "Google Sky" has just been launched and I'm sure there will be a lot of quite nice improvements after some time of ...mainly also because the NASA/Space Telescope Science Institute itself delivers the data.

And by the way (Google)...I think I discovered a little bug ;)

To reproduce it, just start Google Earth, navigate to some location and activate the "Sky view" by clicking on the appropriate button on the toolbar. Make sure you also activated the "Sightseeing" mode in the "Places" planel. Done this you should see little markers on the sky as the following pic shows:
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