NEW YORK, Oct. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Sharing a joint mission to map the universe, Slooh and Google today unveiled the launch of the Slooh layer in Google Earth, a live astronomy feature that brings the power of live space exploration to Google's global audience. The new Slooh "map the universe" layer integrates Slooh's Space Camera technology and worldwide network of powerful robotic mountaintop telescopes with the Google Earth application. Anyone, regardless of age or skill level, can explore outer space in real-time and play an active role in mapping the universe.
Slooh is an online Space Camera that streams live views from robotic telescopes stationed in the Canary Islands, Chile and Australia. Slooh's patented instant imaging technology makes celestial objects appear like Polaroid images over the course of 5-minute missions. While any user of Google Earth can view images captured by the Space Camera, those with Slooh membership have the ability to control the telescopes or join predetermined featured missions. Members can capture instant digital photos, label them with their username and automatically upload to Google Earth to share with the world. Information on membership opportunities is available online.
As part of the collaboration, existing photos taken by Slooh members of more than 35,000 unique celestial objects have already been integrated into Google Earth. New images captured with the Space Camera will seamlessly integrate into Google Earth as a featured layer, in a manner similar to National Geographic and the BBC, and alongside Hubble Space Telescope and other featured observatories in the Google Earth.
In addition to featuring photos captured by Slooh members, Google will also broadcast Slooh's live astronomy missions inside Google Earth and other media properties to Google's global audiences. This feature will provide a live coverage feed of celestial events such as lunar eclipses, enhanced with audio narration by Slooh host and nationally renowned astronomy luminary Bob Berman. Since 2004, Slooh has provided live coverage of many important celestial events, including eclipses, transits, comets, and supernova discoveries, including its October 2009 coverage of NASA's LCROSS crash of a space ship into the Moon.
"We're thrilled to announce this integration with Google Earth, which fulfills our mission to promote scientific enlightenment and reconnect people with the natural world around them," said Michael Paolucci, Founder of Slooh. "Sharing the view through a live telescope is a powerful experience, one we are pleased to now share with Google's worldwide audience."
"Slooh's "map the universe" layer brings a powerful educational component to Google Earth," said Noel Gorelick, Technical Lead, Sky in Google Earth. "Not only does the ability to explore space live bring a totally new active dimension to the experience, but also gives Google users a deeper awareness of the positions of a myriad of celestial objects and the birth of galaxies in our solar system."
Slooh also announced the availability of Space Camera Launch Cards, a new retail product sold in RadioShack and Toys "R" Us stores nationwide for $9.99. The packs of 10 collectible cards give kids 8+ the chance to explore the universe by initiating live online missions to outer space. Each pack of cards come with launch codes specific to a particular category of celestial objects such as Star Cities or Sun Clusters. With the "Explore the Unknown" card kids have the power to discover and photograph celestial objects never before captured with Slooh's Space Camera. After punching the launch code into the online Launch Pad, card-users take control of the telescope and join 5-minute featured missions into space accompanied by audio commentary.
In December 2003, Slooh launched the first Space Camera available to the public. Slooh has served more than 300,000 missions to members from 70 countries who have taken more than 1.1 million photographs to date. Slooh's patented instant imaging technology makes celestial objects appear like Polaroid images over the course of 5-minute missions. Slooh pictures have resulted in community wide participation in several discoveries, including co-authorship with leading universities, including Cal Tech, of research regarding a recent supernova discovery.