On Friday, Google announced it is partnering with Slooh, a service popular with astronomy buffs that lets its users view live events through its global network of observatories, and take photographs of what they see.
The Internet giant will integrate data from Slooh into its Google Sky service, meaning that any user of that system will be able to see member-taken photographs of deep space, as well as watch live events, such as eclipses.
This is an image of Slooh's mission interface, showing what users would see while viewing a live event from one of the company's observatory telescopes.
A close-up of the Slooh layer of Google Sky, showing that a user-taken photograph of the Trifid Nebula exists alongside similar imagery already in the database. But while the existing image comes from large sky surveys or from the Hubble Telescope, they are not real-time. The Slooh images, however, are added to Google Sky seconds after a user takes them.
This is the interface for a mission countdown. Seen here, the countdown clock shows how long it will be until the beginning of the next mission at Slooh's Canary Islands observatory, a live viewing of the Helix Nebula. In this image, there are 26 minutes and 57 seconds until the mission begins. Until then, viewers will see only the night sky through the roof of the observatory.
A look at the Slooh members-only mission launchpad interface. The interface shows what's visible through one of Slooh's observatory telescopes, as well as a list of upcoming missions, and the user's collected photographs.