January 1, 2008 Astronomers have added an application to Google Earth that allows users to not only look at detailed pictures of the night sky at their convenience, but to observe unfolding cosmic events in real time. This application is an extra layer to the Google application and it will show both explosive gamma-ray bursts and shiny gravitational microlensing events.
Even with some of the best telescopes, it’s hard to make out all the planets. But now, there’s a new way for you to explore space -- traveling through the final frontier on your PC.
With a click of a mouse, just like any one can use Google earth to zoom in on New York, Chicago or LA, now wanna-be-astronomers can focus their attention up.
“There are probably a couple billion stars or more seen in images in Google sky and there’s probably a few hundred million galaxies.” S. George Djorgovski, PhD, Professor of Astronomy. California Institute of Technology.
Panoramic images taken by the Samuel Oschin telescope at the Palomar Observatory in California, are combined with other photos from around the globe.
“They’ve combined the images in more or less seamless fashion to be able to pan and scan and zoom.” S. George Djorgovski, Ph.D., told Ivanhoe.
With the help from astronomers and computer scientists at Cal-tech, Google's scientists have layered them to reveal a celestial sphere of stars, galaxies and other cosmic wonders.
“A very famous place where stars are born is called the Orion … as you get closer and closer more details show up.” Dr. Djorgovski said.
Anyone can just click and explore the latest pictures from the Hubble telescope and see cosmic explosions.
“Our programs get this information from NASA satellites that monitor the sky.” Dr. Djorgovski said.
Giving you the ability to watch some of the most dynamic cosmic events unfold at the same time as scientists discover them.
HOW PALOMAR AND OTHER TELESCOPES WORK: A telescope, in its most basic form, is a long tube with a lens on either end that magnifies distant objects. One lens is concave, the other convex, and the light that enters bends, or refracts. The concave lens collects as much light as possible, and a convex lens redirects the rays so that they all converge back to one point. And that point is where you get an image of any object in front of the lens.
The reason we have difficulty seeing objects that are far away is they don't take up sufficient space on the eye's retina for the retinal sensor to detect them. A 'bigger eye' would enable us to collect more light from the object to create a brighter image, and then magnify part of it so that it stretches over more of the retina. A telescope is an extension of the human eye; in this case, it gathers light from dim, distant objects in the sky so we can see them more clearly.