Google Sky Wavelength Slider

March 11, 2008 — Leave a comment

I’ve been wishing there was a wavelength slider in Google Sky ever since it launched and so I have tried to make one. Well I’ve started to make one and thought I’d share. In place of an actual wavelength slider, I have hijacked the time slider and so each wavelength included gets a month on the time slider.

The KMZ file updates when you move around on Google Sky and when it has loaded you just slide the time slider to see different frequencies. Now this is where it gets really beta: every time you move to a new spot, this file goes back to the NASA Skyview server and fetches the image URLs for each wavelength. This can take a long time if are on dialup and to be fair, takes time anyway. It’s also liable to get Skyview annoyed if it gets at all popular, but we’ll see. I am also working on caching some images to speed things up and reduce server load.

H-Alpha

IRAS 25 Micron

408 MHz

The wavelengths included could be anything covered by Skyview. However that would be a lot – Skyview is awesome – so I have selfishly only covered my own area of interest. Thus only the following wavelengths are covered (for now):

  • H-Alpha (shown above for Orion)
  • IRAS 12 microns
  • IRAS 25 microns (shown above for Orion)
  • IRAS 60 microns
  • IRAS 100 microns
  • SDF Dust Map
  • SDF 100 microns
  • 1.4 GHz
  • 408 MHz (shown above for Orion)
  • 35 MHz
  • CO Line Emission (Carbon Monoxide)

So try it out. I’d really like to know what your thoughts would be for improvements in particular. I think the obvious things to do right now are selecting which wavelengths you want to see and only loading those; choosing colour tables; and caching images.

Most importantly though, does anyone know how I can hack the actual slider to say frequency or wavelength instead of a date?

Download the KMZ file for Skyview in Google Sky.

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