Google Sky Paper

Via Ogle Earth, the authors of Google Sky have a paper about Google Sky on arxiv:

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.
I suspect this might be the first paper I've ever seen on arxiv that I actually stand a chance of reading and understanding. ;-)


James said...

You mean you didn't enjoy Grisha Perelman's papers on 3-manifolds and Ricci Surgery?!?!

Add me to the list of "A PAPER I CAN UNDERSTAND!"

Cindy from central NC said...

Hi DaveP,
I don't really understand 99.99% of your blog, but I find it interesting to read. I have no idea if you'll answer me but what the heck...
Two questions:
1) I'm a new Mom to 2 25-month old twin girls (just adopted them from China). They are awesome. They seem to have a phenomenal interest...kinda bizarre...in stars and the moon and the sky etc. I have NO idea how to get the family involved in star-watching/gazing/etc. Do you have any advice? We really don't have any resources in our little NC town. Love to hear your ideas, please.....
2) Secondly, does the concept of infinity bother you? I'm not kidding....I really am interested....Does it bother you? The thought that stars go on and on and on and on....How do you really get your head around that? For my entire life, I have found it simply astounding and then when I learned about PI and other numerical infinity series etc in school, it just all added up to more "bothersome" feelings....How do you personally reconcile it?

Thanks for even thinking of entertaining my questions. I appreciate it!

-CindyW from NC

Dave Pearson said...

What is a "little NC town"? I ask because the answer to question 1 might depend on where you live.

As for question 2, no, I can't say the concept bothers me at all. I'm not sure there's anything to "reconcile" it with.