The NY Times reported that today, Google is unveiling a new service within Google Earth that’ll allow users to view the skies as seen from Earth. Like Google Earth, the new service called Sky will let users fly around and zoom in, exposing increasingly detailed imagery of some 100 million stars and 200 million galaxies.

Mr. Carol Christian, an astronomer with the Space Telescope Science Institute, a nonprofit academic consortium that supports the Hubble Space Telescope said that “You will be able to browse into the sky like never before,”

Mr. Christian also said that while other programs allow users to explore the skies, they typically combine a mix of representations of stars and galaxies that are overlaid with photographs but “These are really the images of the sky. Everything is real.”

Google said that it developed the project strictly because some of its engineers were interested in it, and that it had no plans to make money from it for now.

“It’s merely about getting new kinds of information out there for the public,” said Chikai Ohazama, a Google Earth project manager.

As with Google Earth, individual users and organizations will be able to overlay photographs, annotations and other kinds of data on top of Sky’s basic images and make them available to others as layers — called mash-ups. According to the NY Times report, Sky already has layers showing various constellations, a user’s guide to galaxies, the position of planets two months into the future and animations of lunar positions.

To get Sky, users will have to download the latest version of Google Earth.

This is why I love Google. Nobody knows when Google is going to launch a service that’ll completely change the way we use something. Head over to NY Times to read the news in detail.

Update: I just noticed that the Mashable team has also got the news up on their blog with some screenshots.

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