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EarthSky // Press Released Jan 07, 2008

EarthSky partners with Google in illuminating the cosmos

EarthSky Communications announced today that it has joined Sky in Google Earth in bringing astronomy to millions of Internet users around the world.

Sky is a new feature of Google Earth – launched in August 2007 – that allows users to experience the sky as seen from anywhere on planet Earth.

Sky in Google Earth has now included a series of EarthSky ‘balloons’ – based on audio podcasts from the popular internationally syndicated EarthSky science radio series – in an updated version of Sky launched in early 2008. The EarthSky radio series is a primary product of EarthSky Communications – whose mission is advocating science as a vital tool for the 21st century. The EarthSky balloons feature 90-second podcasts on night sky events such as eclipses and meteor showers, plus professional astronomers explaining their research.

Andy Connolly, an astronomer at the University of Washington and one of the developers of Sky in Google Earth, said, ‘Sky users can hear scientists’ voices loud and clear, via Earth & Sky segments on amazing new astronomical discoveries. These stories – always compelling – are especially so here as they’re explained by the scientists themselves.’

‘The latest version of Sky in Google Earth was all about expanding it along new dimensions,’ said Ryan Scranton, a co-developer of Sky and a post-doctoral astronomy researcher at the University of Pittsburgh. ‘The Earth & Sky layers make Sky a complete audio-visual experience.’

Lior Ron, product manager for Google, added, ‘Working with EarthSky Communications has allowed us to add a unique dimension on top of the Sky photos. The podcasts tell a story that is easy to understand and is up-to-date with current sky events.’

‘I was exploring around the Sky the other day and came upon an Earth & Sky icon,” said Google engineer Greg Coombe. ‘I didn’t think there was anything particularly remarkable about the region of the sky, until I listened to the podcast and learned about how scientists had created an image of a quasar there using gravitational lensing. It was really amazing to see that information presented in its proper context.’

EarthSky podcasts are found in Sky in Google Earth by clicking either ‘Welcome to Sky’ or ‘Current Sky Events’ in the navigation bar. In addition to the podcasts, the EarthSky balloons provide helpful links to related articles on EarthSky’s website.

‘Sky in Google Earth rocks!’ said Ryan Britton, managing partner of EarthSky Communications. ‘We hope people use the Earth & Sky layer in Sky in Google Earth to have fun and learn about the cosmos.’