Usually when a headline starts with the word “Google,” the first thought was – they must be stopped! But not this time. Recently, Google Earth announced it was great for not only mapping the earth, but the heavens as well.
Google Sky is an add-on for their very popular Google Earth software containing over 100 million stars and twice as many galaxies. Google Sky also features layers of constellations, the moon, the planets, a “Life of a Star” tour, and a comprehensive listing of backyard astronomy objects within easy optical reach. It even includes some stunning images taken from the ultimate telescope – the Hubble.
To access Google Sky, click “Switch to Sky” from the “View” menu, or click the Sky button on the Google Earth toolbar. Then you can voyage through the heavens by navigation buttons work that steer, zoom, and even search. Favorites can also be saved much like a bookmark.
But what you may not know is that in addition to playing armchair astronomer, users can also get in a giant furball of a dogfight. Through a combination of keystrokes, Google Earth also becomes a flight simulator. Pressing Ctrl + Alt + A (Command/Open Apple Key + Option + A on the Mac) will activate the feature. And once activated, users can choose their planes (I like the F16) and then play any time by simply choosing Tools > Enter Flight Simulator from the menu bar. To leave flight simulator mode, click Exit Flight Simulator in the top right corner or press Ctrl + Alt + A (Command/Open Apple Key+ Option + A on the Mac).
The Google Earth Flight Sim can be controlled by joystick, Mouse or keyboard.
And although they don’t have Space Sim addition just yet (think Apollo, gang), this software never ceases to amaze … especially for the price (a freebie).
Source: Make Blog