The Colourful Sky

Ever since I first saw Google Maps I wanted the same thing for the universe but with a wavelength slider. I wanted to be able to slide through the electromagnetic spectrum from radio waves to gamma rays.

Software such as Stellarium and Google Sky have done a good job of showing the visible universe and I hoped that they would add other wavelengths. They were both beaten to that by Sky-map.org which I think may have been the first Google Maps-like service that offered options to switch between wavelengths. Sky-map.org includes the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, an H-alpha survey and the IRAS infrared survey. Stellarium has also stepped up to the plate by including survey data from the European Southern Observatory. Now, according to a Chandra Space Telescope podcast Chandra images can be found in the (Google) Sky (MP3) along with those from HST (optical), Spitzer (infrared), IRAS (infrared), WMAP (microwave), and GALEX (UV). These are the first tentative steps towards a friendly virtual observatory tool that should eventually provide what I want.

I can't wait to see the 408 MHz Haslam map, the Rosat all sky survey, 2MASS, UKIDSS, IPHAS and more included in all these software packages. The sky is a colourful place.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Wednesday 30th Jan 2008 (08:50 GMT) | Permalink
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