Astronomy software gadgets

NGC 1333

Those of you who like astronomy might be happy to read about two nice offerings I bumped into last week:

  • Google Sky – a web based offering from Google obviously, allowing you to explore the sky. It works similar to Google Maps: you can zoom in and out, move around, view the sky with different filters like infrared or microwave, and you can actually share URLs, like this one here of NGC 1333, a reflection nebula in the constellation “Perseus”, a chaotic star birth area 1.000 light-years away from earth, with a very young ( only 10.000 years old ) star, IRAS 4B, where with the help of the Spitzer Space Telescope a lot of water has been discovered, according also to an article in the latest issue of “bild der wissenschaft” I have been reading recently.
  • Microsoft WorldWide Telescope, a nice looking virtual telescope on your desktop after you have downloaded and installed  it ( after you have checked the pre-requisites ! ). This allows very smooth navigation through the sky, searching for objects and retrieving additional information, discovering constellations and then traveling into the deep space to lots of objects of interest ( NGC 1333 is in there as well ). You can also view our planets, zoom closer, turn them and you even can zoom down to our blue planet and discover it like you can do with Google Earth by using different types of maps ( streets, hybrid etc … ).

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