I’m probably (as usual) the last person in the world to get on to this – but I’ve just discovered the joys of Google Sky. Google Earth is great of course, but once the shock of discovery has faded, it’s a bit like a really excellent atlas. Google Sky, however, is like – well, it’s like being at the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, barking orders at Uhura. (‘Uhura, sack the designer who made us these skin tight jumpers!!’) It’s a magical mystery tour of space, with a Hubble Catalogue of colour photographs of amazing galaxies on edge, or shaped like pinwheels. It’s a marvel, downloadable for free, and out there.
I wish I’d had this when I wrote Debatable Space; I’d never have finished the first draft, but oh what fun!
There are links to other extraordinary places too, such as the site devoted to Arp’s Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies, an account of the life’s work of an eccentric but brilliant astronomer who studies, er, peculiar galaxies. Or this site, which takes you on a virtual tour of black holes.
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