Friday, 6 March 2009

Buon viaggio nel cielo!

A voyage in the sky . . .

Have I ever remarked that I love the Zooite Objects of the Day? Today's was just so special it must have a mention here.

Half65, a great contributor to overlapping galaxies, cool buttons and fun forum statistics, and who also keeps the Object of the Day record, has made us a Google Earth video of many of our favourite galaxies. It lasts about 15 minutes and is an incredible experience. We stride across the sky like a bird that flies faster than light, zooming in and out effortlessly with an eagle's sharp eyes. Here are some highlights . . .

Starforming galaxy NGC 4496:

Ring Galaxy NGC 3945:

A Planetary Nebula, named PN G164.8+31.1:

My all-time favourite, ARP 142:

. . . and of course IC 2497 and the good old Voorwerp underneath:

Not only is this wonderful, but it's also rather prophetic - our Google grant may mean that we'll all be doing this sort of thing one day. And useful too; I may just have acquired a Google Earth addiction, and will have no choice but to get my head down and learn how to convert ra and dec!

It took some fighting with Google Earth to get it to work properly. You need to install the latest version, and I think this and that plugin. Then you need to have it open, and go to File -> Open to open this link, which will probably have saved itself as a file on your desktop. It is worth any amount of waiting and restraining yourself from applying the pickaxe to the computer. Half65 provided this diagram to show us what to do. And he claims not to be an expert!

Hopefully this will also soon be mentioned on the Galaxy Zoo Blog. Keep up those wonderful Zooite Objects of the Day, everybody. They take my breath away!

Bon voyage!

(P.S. With thanks to Half65 for correcting the title.)

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