"You can now explore the universe from the comfort of your chair. Zoom in to distant galaxies hundreds of millions of light years away, explore the constellations, see the planets in motion, witness a supernova explosion; it's like having a giant, virtual telescope at your command -- your own personal planetarium!" said Lior Ron, product manager for Google Earth.
There are a number of commercially available tools, such as Starry Night and Red Shift that provide many more sophisticated features like advanced predictive technology for monitoring star movements. However, they lack the immense appeal that Google Earth has garnered, being reportedly downloaded more than 250 million times.
Amateur astronomers will sure be delighted by the new feature. To use Google Sky, users need first download the latest version of Google Earth software and select the new 'Switch to Sky' option available from the ‘View’ drop down menu.