Friday, August 24, 2007

WEBHYPE: Space, Real and Fictional

Two new web applications made their debut this week, affording armchair astronomers fun and fascinating new ways to explore space.

Google's totally cool Google Earth program, which you should all be familiar with, has turned its view to the heavens with the new Sky add-on. A new button has been added to the menubar allowing you to switch between earth and sky. Once you are looking into space, you can zoom in to highly detailed views which include educational links and high-res images. In the image above, a Hubble Space Telescope image is overlaid on the Great Orion Nebula, and a pop-up gives detailed information. Sky is designed for user-added content, so bookmarks and imagery can proliferate in Google Sky as they do on Google Earth.

Google Earth download

[ Of course, if you want to get deep into space, get Celestia -- I'll post on this later ]

If the incomprehensible vastness of space as we currently understand it, isn't enough for you, go deeper still, into the universe of imagination, with Galixiki. Taking the Wikipedia concept into space, users who sign up (for free) and become "Galaxicians" can create solar systems, planets and moons. The possibilities are limitless.

Galaxiki homepage

[ Of course, you can do similar things with Celestia -- check out the user-created Death Star add-on -- I'll post on this later ]

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