Google Earth & Sky

I just discovered that is also useful for astronomy. You go under View and click on Switch to Sky. Suddenly your screen is a planetarium. It’s not quite the equal yet of KStars, Starry Night or Carinasoft’s Voyager (the three programs I know best), but it’s not bad for a start, and with call-outs that integrate well with the Web.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, I’m wondering if there’s an easy one-click way to copy lat/lon from an x/y location on the Earth. Or to copy the geotag.

Another question… Is there an easy way to make Google Earth display the names of mountains and rivers? Seems the only way is by angling down with the tilt slider (the horizontal one above the compass tool), to an elevation barely above that of the mountain — and then using your mouse, keyboard, or that joysticky whatever-that-is in the middle of the compass, to fly like a plane toward the mountain’s crest, hoping that at some point the name of the mountain will appear in blue above it. Any of you geo-hackers know a better way? Hope there is one.

And one more… Is there a way to use normal, non-3D fonts?

Oh, and these questions don’t just apply to Google Earth.

My main purpose is to geotag pictures I put up here. No way to label them all, since there are around 18,000 of them. But I’d like to label a few, at least. Easily.

7 responses to “Google Earth & Sky”

  1. Hey Doc, you might also enjoy trying out Stellarium which is free software, cross platform and very slick. (

  2. Hi Doc,

    I geotag all my photos in Google’s Picasa before uploading them to Flickr – I’ve got north of 4000 geotagged photos up there so far. Here are a couple of how to guides for this process.


  3. Thanks for the Stellarium tip, Richard. Downloading it now in Xtreme slow motion here in a London hotel.

    And good to see you, Ron. Also the photos. Unfortunately, Picassa is one of those annoying Google programs that only runs on Windows.

    By the way, watch for some of the descriptions I’ll be putting up on some of my latest aerial shots. Curious to get your reactions.

  4. Not so, Doc. There’s a Linux version of Picasa in Google Labs. I’m not sure if it supports the geotagging with Google Earth like the Windows version does (I haven’t got a Linux machine to test it on), but since there’s a Linux version of Google Earth I don’t see why it shouldn’t.

    I’m looking forward to even more photos. I’d be interested to know what you do to filter out haze or improve the contrast. My airphotos have never looked as sharp as yours.

  5. Thanks, Ron. I’ll check Picassa out on the Linux laptop when I get back.

    For killing haze and bringing out color… In Photoshop, use Auto Color or Auto Levels, or adjust the levels manually. Experiment around in that menu.

    There may be similar controls in Picassa. Not sure.

    As for shooting, do your best to sit on the shady side of the plane. Makes a huge difference.

  6. Doc – you can place photos on a map in Flickr (see – it’s pretty clunky, but you can get to it via “Organize”/”all your photos” and use the “Map” tab, or “Organize”/”Your Map”

  7. yes,google earth is very useful.and I hope there are google KStars soon.

    copy lat/lon?I think you only use photo software to catch it other ways except google supply.

    names of mountains and rivers?I think google will supply this function.

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