Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and space camera company Slooh have launched a live astronomy feature that brings live space exploration to Google's millions of users, as part of the two companies' joint mission to map the universe, they said Friday.
Slooh is an online space camera that streams live views from robotic telescopes stationed in the Canary Islands, Chile and Australia. The company's instant imaging technology makes celestial objects appear as Polaroid images over the course of 5 minute missions.
New images captured by Slooh will be featured on Google Earth as a "map the universe" layer. Regardless of age or skill level, users will be able to explore outer space in real-time and play an active role in mapping the universe.
While any Google Earth user can view images captured by the space camera, those with a Slooh membership will also have the ability to control the telescopes or join pre-determined featured missions, allowing them to capture and then label instant digital photos, as well as automatically upload the pictures to Google Earth.
Existing photos taken by Slooh members of more than 35,000 celestial objects have already been integrated into Google Earth, the companies said.
In addition to featuring photos captured by Slooh members, Google will also broadcast Slooh's live astronomy missions inside Google Earth, which will provide a live coverage feed of celestial events such as lunar eclipses, with audio narration by Slooh host Bob Berman.
"Slooh's "map the universe" layer brings a powerful educational component to Google Earth," said technical lead of Sky in Google Earth, Noel Gorelick.
"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."
Separately, Google reported its third quarter results yesterday, increasing its revenues by 23% to $7.29 billion.
Traffic acquisition costs, the portion of revenues shared with Google's partners, totaled $1.81 billion, or 26% of advertising revenues. Google-owned sites accounted for 67% of total sales. As of September 30 2010, the company had $33.4 billion in cash. The news has sent Google's stock up by more than 9% on Friday, trading at $592.9 as of 10:32am ET.
Since Slooh's launch in 2003, the company has served more than 300,000 missions to members from 70 countries who have taken more than 1.1 million photographs to date.
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