Google Inc. released a new version of Google Earth this week (Version 4.3 Beta) that, of course, has some new features.

SkyScout in Google Sky

When you click on the orange ball in the Sky mode of Google Earth you'll hear interesting facts.

Google / Celestron

It will now display sunlight, so that you can see the dark and illuminated portions of the Earth, as well as make cool vistas when you turn on the 3-D buildings. But the most time-wasting aspect is that it now incorporates the Street View capability from Google Maps — and the images are more detailed. I can almost see in the windows of my house.

On the Google Sky front, telescope-maker Celestron announced yesterday that they will be providing audio clips from their SkyScout Audio Tours. After invoking Sky mode with the Saturn icon, you'll find tours in the Layers menu under Sky Database > Education Center. Currently, the audio clips are very brief identifications of constellations. More to come soon, I presume!

Also new in the Education Center is the Virtual Tourism layer, which is fun to browse. It has a smattering of astronomy related YouTube videos.




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