Content for Google Sky: Nearby stars, Astronomy Picture of the Day

Now that Valery Hronusov has his Google Spreadsheet code tweaked to create KML for Google Sky, he has put it to immediate good use: Cataloguing nearby stars.

Here is his Google Spreadsheet showing the nearest stars to the Sun, sorted by class. By using the CONCATENATE function, which let him plug the table’s values into a KML template, Valery has made a series of network links that brings this data into Google Sky. And yes, should he change the data, the network link updates immediately.

He used the Nearby Stars Database as his source, and in doing so discovers yet another use for Google Sky:

Also I fixed 6-7 bugs in the data source in this process. GE Sky is a very good tool for checking and comparison of data from different sources.

That’s because until now, there was no easy way of mashing up astronomical data on top of an accurate background dataset. That’s precisely what Google Sky lets you do.

And while we’re on the topic of interesting content for Google Sky, check out this post on Google Earth Community, where syzygy has been “astroreferencing” (as opposed to georeferencing) NASA’s Astronomy Pictures of the Day against Google Sky’s background layer. The improvement in detail can be enormous.