My Stars! Google Earth Grows Up.

Picture_bGoogle Earth, with very little fanfare, has grown up…literally up.  It has added the sky.  You can now see the sky above the location where you are, including constellations, planets, and the movements of heavenly bodies.  Google has posted two great videos to explain the new feature.  One features Sally Ride and the other is narrated by kid.  Nice touch, Google! You do have to download theGoogleuniverse
new version (PC or Mac).  This time, both platforms get the uptick at the same time.  The new version keeps all your old placemarks (whew!).  Once you have the new version, you’ll see a "sky" icon in the upper menu.  Click on that and the program reloads and shows you the Picture_c
stars. Once clicked, the sky mode in Google 4.2 shows you a new menu of layers. TheGooglelayer2
videos will give you more detail on how to use the feature so I won’t repeat it here.  I will say that you can still float images in the sky, just like on the earth (see earlier post).  And it is even cooler in the night sky! Fly a plane, or a spaceship, or the Enterprise (like Robin Ziegler). The first image in this post shows my face over the constellation Hercules.  Random choice. You can duplicate by cutting and pasting your own face into the document at the bottom of the postOther Sky Notes. If you like the heavens, you should also know about another program, Stellarium, which is very nifty for flying across the sky. It shows morePicture_6
than 600,000 stars which are upgradeable (free) to 210 million stars. You can turn on constellation outlines or–and this is really neat–you can show the art in the night sky that those early star gazers supplied with their imagination.  There are lots of other features that let you control landscapes, locations, other things.  This, like Google Earth sky, would love very cool on a classroom projector. And I Picture_7would suggest letting the class pick the music to play along with the display. On both programs, be sure to play with the Time Controls which allow you watch the objects in the sky move over time–on an adjustable scale. Keeps you humble. Next time: Google Mars and Google Moon!


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  1. Lor said:

    Just found Google Sky the other day. I have used Google Mars and Google moon with students already.

  2. Martha Thornburgh said:

    Very clever title…:) Looking forward to sharing this with my students next week. I’m thinking constellation digital stories telling how the constellations got their name, timeline of what the sky looks like from their home at different times of the year… much more. Should be fun.

  3. Hall Davidson said:

    Lor, Thanks for the comment. Any feedback from the kids? Did it grab them? Did they actually get some meaning from those pretty amazing aps? I mean, they are almost fictional in their scope.

  4. Maryann Molishus said:

    My second graders love Google Earth, and I know they will love the sky feature just as much. I just put in a request to have our computers updated. But the best part was showing my daugther the Sally Ride video. When she was in third grade (now in fifth) she did a very amusing report on Sally Ride (the tennis player who did some space work, etc., etc.). It has been part of our family teasing ever since. However, we will never forget who Sally Ride is! That is great teaching I would say.

  5. Hall Davidson said:

    Thanks, Maryann. Sally Ride has become more of a fixture in education than even she knows. From watching student media projects, I cannot number the times she has graciously agreed to be interviewed, recorded, and otherwise used. How great that you and your daughter can share material from her. We need to spread that video around!

  6. David Douglass said:

    One thing that a lot of DEN members might not be aware of yet is that UnitedStreaming videos can be embedded into placemarks, not just YouTube videos. Even mp3 PodCasts can be displayed right in Google Earth now, effectively making them ‘GeoCasts’. The embedding technique is similar to the YouTube example and the videos can reside on a server or on a hard drive (Windows Only though for now). I put up a little tutorial with the needed code that you can share as you wish at my hobby site:

    I am really excited to see the cool stuff DEN members dream up!

  7. Gina said:

    Need some help here! Got a new greenscreen for my lab. “Grand Opening” is next Friday (Oct.5) and I’m in need of some help to show it off. I think we’ll just take pics of folks who come but I need some pics that I can chromakey in. Any ideas? Also, any quicklinks to make the chromakey process easy for this type of event?

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