Google Earth Looks Up

Nothing inspires like looking up at the stars on a clear night, but a new feature from Google Earth could come close. In fact, the experience it offers is much closer to how many professional astronomers study the sky on a daily basis – not through a lens, but on a computer screen.

The newest version of Google Earth, the free program that has been downloaded by an estimated 250 million people, includes a "Sky" function that allows you to switch the view from any point on the planet so that you're looking up and out instead of down at the ground. It works just like Google Earth, except now you can zoom in on stars, galaxies and planets. You won't be looking at a live view; the images are compiled from shots taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Find out more, or download it yourself, here.—Gregory Mone

(Image credit: NASA)