Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Google Sky, Google Moon & Google Mars

We are approaching three months now since Google added support for Google’s Moon, Mars and Sky imagery to the Google Maps API. Unfortunately we have not been inundated with Google Maps mash-ups that have taken advantage of these new astronomical features.

Michael Kosowsky of was quick off the mark with his Cosmic Visibility Map. This map is a great tool for astronomers as it shows where all the planets are in the night sky and the horizon is custom-drawn on the map depending on what the time is and where you are located. Michael has also produced two maps showing the phases of the Moon and Mars.

Peter Pesti was not satisfied that Google only added Mars and the Moon to the Google Maps API so he added his own Europa Map. His map overlays photo tiles of Jupiter's Moon so now you can explore Europa as well.

I used the Sky imagery to show the European Space Agency’s Hubblecast videos embedded on a map of the night sky in my Star Viewer Map and the Moon imagery to produce a video map of the Apollo Moon Landings.

Aside from that Mapperz has created a couple of example maps that are useful if you wish to develop maps using the new features of the Google Maps API. They have created a map of the Constellation Leo to demonstrate how you can use polylines in a Sky map and an Image Overlay Map to show how you can add your own images.

Finally, if you do produce a Google Map of the night sky you might find Dailyack’s tutorial on getting Sky to work on the iPhone pretty useful.

Other astronomy related maps are listed in the right sidebar of this page here.

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