Most people may be familiar with Google Maps, but few are familiar with Google Sky Maps, another offering for those interested in space. Google Sky Maps differs from Google Maps in that it provides a 3D simulation of the sky and the solar system.
The app provides real-time information to compare changes in the sky and the solar system. It’s a great way to engage your kids or develop a new interest. To learn more about the objects visible in the app and how to use it, read on.
Objects visible on Google Sky Maps
Before exploring how to use Google Sky Maps, it is important to take note of the items visible on it. When you launch Maps, here are some of the visible objects:
- Solar system: this shows the different planets in the solar system including the moon and the sun.
- Constellation: this shows the different constellations available such as Aquarius, Aries, Cancer etc.
- Hubble Showcase: this shows the collections of various images previously recorded by the Hubble telescopes.
- Backyard Astronomy: this shows a view of the sky as well as the stars.
- Earth and Sky Podcasts: this contains audio clips of various events in the sky.
Other objects visible on the maps include Chandra X-Ray Showcase, GALEX Ultraviolet Showcase, and Spitzer Infrared Showcase.
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How to access Google Sky Maps
Google Sky Maps is accessible from a web browser and the Sky Map app. Here are the steps to access the map from the web or an app:
How to access Google Sky Maps from a browser
To access Google Sky Maps from a web browser, here’s what you need to do:
Step 1: Launch your favorite web browser.
To note: For best results, Google Chrome should be your first browser option.
2nd step: In the address bar, type Google Sky Maps. The first result you see should be the web link for the maps.
Step 3: Click on the link and it launches the application.
How to access Google Sky Maps from the Play Store
Another way to access the map is through the Sky Map app on the Google Play Store. Here are the steps to do so:
Step 1: Launch the Play Store on your Android phone or tablet
2nd step: Find Sky Map in the search box and click download.
Step 3: Once the app installation is complete, click on it and it should launch the map.
How to use Google Sky Maps
There are a lot of things you can do on the map once you access it. Here are some of the notable things you can do:
Finding Items on the Map
If you want to search for places or celestial objects, here is what you need to do:
Step 1: Launch the Sky Maps app on your phone or web browser.
2nd step: Select the search icon and enter the name of the item you want to see.
To note: Examples of items you can search for on the map include Orion, the Crab Nebula, or a specific longitude and latitude.
Step 3: Click Search to view the results.
Navigate the map
On the app version of the map, you can swipe left or right to move around the map. You can also pinch the screen with your fingers to zoom in or out. If you want to move around in the application on the web version, here are the steps to follow:
Step 1: Click the + or – keys on the right of the screen to zoom in or out.
2nd step: The cursor on the screen should look like a hand, hold down your left mouse button and drag left or right to move around the map. You can use the arrow keys on your keyboard to move left or right on the map. Here’s what each key represents in terms of direction:
- to move north.
- move south.
- move east.
- move west.
Editing views on the map
You can also change the way the card is presented to you. On the web version of the map, there are three options located in the right corner representing different views.
If you want to view the current scenario in infrared mode, select the “Infrared” option to see the view captured by the infrared astronomical satellite (IRAS). NASA’s Wilkinson Microwave Anistropy Probe (WMAP) can show you the sky view after the big bang in microwave mode and you will need to select the Microwave option for that.
Finally, if you like older maps, choose History to see the classic sky drawn by Giovanni Maria Cassini from the David Rumsey collections.
Heaven and Earth encounter
With the Google Sky app, you can use Google Earth to explore the planet. However, Google Earth provides a satellite view of the Earth. You can also use the Google Earth app to simulate flights or gain virtual flight experience.
Last updated Sep 6, 2021
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