Sky in Google Earth

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Sky in Google Earth

Post by Walden2 »

Sky in Google Earth: The Next Frontier in Astronomical Data Discovery and Visualization

Authors: Ryan Scranton, Andrew Connolly, Simon Krughoff, Jeremy Brewer, Alberto Conti, Carol Christian, Craig Sosin, Greg Coombe, Paul Heckbert

(Submitted on 5 Sep 2007)

Abstract: Astronomy began as a visual science, first through careful observations of the sky using either an eyepiece or the naked eye, then on to the preservation of those images with photographic media and finally the digital encoding of that information via CCDs. This last step has enabled astronomy to move into a fully automated era -- where data is recorded, analyzed and interpreted often without any direct visual inspection. Sky in Google Earth completes that circle by providing an intuitive visual interface to some of the largest astronomical imaging surveys covering the full sky. By streaming imagery, catalogs, time domain data, and ancillary information directly to a user, Sky can provide the general public as well as professional and amateur astronomers alike with a wealth of information for use in education and research. We provide here a brief introduction to Sky in Google Earth, focusing on its extensible environment, how it may be integrated into the research process and how it can bring astronomical research to a broader community. With an open interface available on Linux, Mac OS X and Windows, applications developed within Sky are accessible not just within the Google framework but through any visual browser that supports the Keyhole Markup Language. We present Sky as the embodiment of a virtual telescope.

Comments: 10 pages, 3 figures, to be submitted to PASP

Subjects: Astrophysics (astro-ph)

Cite as: arXiv:0709.0752v1 [astro-ph]

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