Tuesday, May 13, 2008

M82, Google Sky and the WorldWide Telescope.

I use google maps all the time, but google also has google sky, a web-based AJAX application that shows the night sky. Guess what the default view you see when you log into google sky? My favorite galaxy group: M81, M82 and NGC 3077 (here is the explicit link in case they change it or start randomizing it). Well chosen google! They even prompt you to look at another starburst galaxy with a superwind: NGC 3628 [in google sky].

Its worth zooming in a bit to see M82 in all its glory though [google sky version]. Now if google could just add a X-ray option...

Somewhat confusingly there is also both a Google Sky part of the downloadable Google Earth application (which runs on Linux, Macs and Windows).

Both the NYT and the BBC have articles on Microsoft's newly released WorldWide Telescope application [link warning: it has a horrendous and noisy Flash front page]. Sadly its a large windows-only application, so I doubt I'll get around to downloading and installing it when Google Sky runs through any brower on any OS.

[Update: 16.05.08 - you can see the X-ray emission. Click the "Chandra X-ray Showcase" in the bottom pane of the google sky window and pan your mouse over the images until you see the pop-up say M82 (its the fifth image along from the left), then click that image and voila! Awesome... NGC 3079 (8th image along) is another galaxy with a superwind, most probably starburst-driven even though the galaxy also hosts a weak-but-peculiar AGN.]

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