Google adds time travel to Sky Map

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Google's putting a planetarium in your pocket with the launch of a new feature on its Sky Map app.

"Have you ever wondered how the sky was back in 1900? How the sky looked when the Apollo 11 moon landing happened? Or what the sky will look like next Thursday night for your planned star-gazing trip?" says lunatic designer Hector Ouilhet (No, that's not a gratuitous insult, it's what he calls himself.)

Sky Map uses the phone's GPS and position sensor to allow users to point their phone at the sky and see a labeled map of the stars, planets and constellations in front of them.

Alternatively, users can search for a particular object, then move their phone in the direction of an arrow on the screen to locate it.

The new version of Google Sky Map, available from today, lets users 'time travel' to see the sky at a specific date in the past or future. After traveling to the chosen year, they can fast forward or rewind at various speeds to watch how the sky changes.

Unfortunately, the app has a time range that only covers the years 1900 to 2100, so you won't be able to check out the end of the universe (one hopes).

Google Sky Map is available for Android-powered devices running Android 1.6 and above. It's available free from the Android Market.