Posted March 13, 2008 6:50 pm by with 6 comments

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on FacebookBuffer this page

Just over six months after it launched as a feature of Google Earth, Google Sky is spinning off into a separate web-based offering. The site,, is the internship project of a finalist in the Latin America Code Jam, Diego Gavinowich (with help from some others, of course). Today marks the official announcement of Google Sky’s web-based version.

Google’s video explains the key features, as well as highlighting those of Google Mars and Google Moon:

Of course, we all remember this isn’t the first time Google has eyed the moon.

Fun facts of the day: no matter what anyone else will tell you, unlike other stars and planetary satellites, the Earth’s Sun and Moon have no official names. Other than, of course, “The Sun” and “The Moon.”

  • Jack

    I thought the sun’s name was “Sol”?

  • Jordan McCollum

    According to the Straight Dope, nope. Sol is the commonly used Latin name for the Sun, but it isn’t official. Luna is a commonly used Latin name for the Moon, but it also isn’t official.

  • Jack

    Sorry for the second reply, however I still believe the name of the sun is “Sol”.

    The word “solar system” is a derivative of this, being a generic term for all celestial phenomena of this type.

    The suffix “ar” is Latin in origin and means pertaining to or of a similar nature, as in “Sol-like”. The name of our solar system is in fact the “Sol System”. Other solar systems follow the same nomenclature, Ex: Upsilon Andromeda System, discovered in 1999 by Butler and Marcy, a solar system with three planets. They followed the rule, and being astronomers that seems pretty official.

  • Jordan McCollum

    Yes, all solar systems have suns, which simply goes to show that the name “sol” is another generic term for a sun. In Star Trek they may even use the term “Sol System” to refer to our solar system, however, the scientific community by and large does not use the term “Sol” as the proper name for our sun. Instead, the proper name is the Sun (capitalized). Same for the Moon.

  • Why do we need another ‘official’ name. Aren’t sun and moon good enough. Does this mean that mars and jupiter and all other named heavenly bodies have alternative official names as well?

  • Jordan McCollum

    Um, Mars and Jupiter et al. have official names—Mars, Jupiter &c. If they didn’t have official names, they’d just be “Planet.”