Real Sized Planets in Google Sky
Seeing as there are several Google Earth (Sky) KML files all showing live planet positions using Icons, I thought it might be interesting to try something with Image Overlays instead. One advantage of this method is being able to use detailed photographs, creating the illusion of zoomable objects in the same way as the stars and galaxies in the Google Sky base imagery.
The following file displays the Sun, Moon, planets and Pluto. Positions are automatically updated via a networklink every hour. Note, you will need to zoom in quite a long way to see most of these. Double clicking on the arrow icons will get you there quicker.
Planets in Google Sky (Google Earth v4.2 Required)
Several other features in the file:
- Bodies shown at their correct angular size, and polar orientation using scaled and rotated photographs with transparent backgrounds.
- The Moon is displayed as one of 50 separate photos, depending on its current phase. These are the same images that are in my Lunar timeline.
- Each overlay is assigned a specific draworder so that during occultations (when one body passes in front of another), they are displayed on top of one another in the right sequence.
The arrow shaped icons are an attempt to do several things at once:
- Indicate planet locations without obscuring the overlays.
- Represent velocity vectors. Pointing in the direction planets are moving.
- Hopefully, avoid confusion with the Google Sky Layers’ Planet icons.
I’m currently putting the final touches to a time animated version of this file, which I’ll post tomorrow.
- Images are from Wikipedia, originally from NASA.
- Ephemerides from JPL Horizons. The quantities this file is based around are ‘Astronometric declination and right ascension’, ‘Illuminated fraction’ (for the Moon’s phase), ‘Target angular diameter’, ‘North pole position angle’ and ‘Range’.