Google Earth Adds Sky And Hidden Bonus

Those crazy Google Kids.

Not content with our little blue planet, Google Earth 4.2 added a “sky” feature. It allows you to shift your gaze from Earth to the heavens, including about a hundred million stars and two hundred million galaxies, with Hubble and other image overlays for a good bit of it. It has been a long time since my backyard astronomy days (alas, the sky in North Carolina is not the best for stargazing), but as a resource for hobbiests or educators it is top notch. You can see a YouTube video on it here.

Google Earth publicized this a good bit, but another feature they added wasn’t advertised. That feature is a flight simulator!
Google Earth Flight Sim
With Google Earth (4.2) open, hit CTRL+ALT_A (Mac users hit CMD+OPT+A). Choose your plane, airport and runway, fire up Danger Zone in your media player (you know you have it), and take a tour of the friendly skies. Use the Page Up key to rev your engine and use the arrow keys to take off. There are a bunch of keyboard shortcuts, and joysticks are also supported.