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For Google, Not Even The Sky is Off Limits

As if the entire planet, down to embarrassing street photos, weren't enough, Google Earth has added a new feature allowing users to see all things sky. Let's hope none of the aliens are wearing thongs.

Packed with 100 million individual stars and 200 million galaxies, the new feature was a serious undertaking. The Google Earth Sky feature contains seven informative layers, including constellations, backyard astronomy showing objects within easy optical reach, Hubble imagery, the moon, planets, Galaxies, and even "Life of a Star" tour.

To access Google Sky, click "Switch to Sky" from the "View" menu, or click the Sky button on the Google Earth toolbar.

The "steer," "drag, "zoom" and "search" navigation buttons work just like the terrestrial versions. Users can also save their favorite planets, stars, galaxies, and extraterrestrial hot spots.

Google Sky was the fruit of the University of Washington's participation in the Google Visiting Faculty Program, making possible visits from leading academic researchers. Google's Pittsburgh engineering team created Sky by stitching together imagery from numerous scientific third parties, including the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) among others.

"Sky is a very cool new feature for anyone who has ever looked up at the sky and wanted to know more," said Sally Ride, former astronaut and CEO of Sally Ride Science, in a statement. "I think this is a great tool for satisfying that curiosity."

Captain Kirk never had it so good.