Paul Sutherland, over at SkyMania, has written about Google's plans to link up with NASA on some interesting mapping sites. He goes on to comment on something he and I have spoken about before:

I am waiting for Google to act on a suggestion I emailed to them a while back - to produce a map of the sky that we could explore in a similar way to Google Earth. There is already plenty of data from observatories' sky surveys that could map the sky as a celestial sphere. Would anyone else like to see Google Universe?
Yes, I'd love to see something like that. And, funnily enough, yesterday, I stumbled on a site that appears to more or less fit the bill: Wikisky.

I've not explored it too much yet (I found it while in the middle of something else and posted it to my astronomy bookmarks list on del.icio.us with a view to having a proper look at some point later) but, on the surface, it does seem to have many of the features one would expect from a "Google1 Universe". There's a map of the sky that can be dragged about, has zoom, has detailed images and has links elsewhere.

Have a look at the getting started article to learn more about it.

1) Note to Google legal types, that's not an attempt to infringe on any sort of trademark, that's just an attempt to talk about a mythical product that some people would like to see.


Anonymous said...

Finally someone has got around to it. I've been wanting something like this ever since I saw Google Maps.

I like the fact that they have given us the ability to switch to the Sloan Digital Sky Survey but I would still like a "wavelength slider" so that I can switch between optical, radio and x-ray specs ;-)

Dave Pearson said...

Ooo! Nice idea!

Paul Sutherland said...

Oh yes! It sounds like something you might order at the bar when you've already had a few too many. But I shall definitely have a closer look at that over Christmas.

Dave Pearson said...

Heh, yeah, I had to read the domain name a couple of times before I got it right. ;)