Google Maps – out of this world!

Google Maps – out of this world!

So, many of you realise that I have a keen interest in things “not of this world”. Here is more computer based astronomy stuff for you.

Most people will be aware that Google have mapped pretty much most of the planet we live on, Google Maps and Google Earth are great applications that can be used for many things from simply looking up places on the planet to using your phone as a satelite navigation tool for getting around.

What many people won’t be aware of is that Google haven’t stopped just mapping our planet, but they have been merrily mapping our satelite (i.e. the Moon) and Mars (the red planet) and the rest of the nights sky.

Google Moon –
This site was launched on the 40th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing and it shows you all of the landing sites in great detail and even allows you to turn on an elevation view that will give you details of the size of the craters on the surface of the moon. If you want to see more (3D views) then head over to where you can download the latest version of Google Earth that now includes the moon.

Google Mars –
More of the same here but a different planetory body of course. This particular site allows you to see the red plant, its elevation and even the infrared spectrum, but just like Google Moon, you can explore more with Google Earth, to see Mars you need to select the planet icon on the top menu bar and select Mars.

Google Sky –
Similar to Stellarium that we reviewed last year, Google Sky allows you to browse around the nights sky, zooming into globular clusters, galaxies and nebula. M42 (the Great Orion Nebula) for example is viewable with the naked eye (or better with a decent set of binoculars). Why not have a look at it in Google Sky and then go and try to find it at night? Again Google Sky is fully integrated into Google Earth now so you can even search for the object you’re interested in.