MAP APPS, EARTH AND BEYOND

– “Google Earth Pro,” which used to cost $400 a year, is now free. It can print much more detailed images, import thousands of addresses at once to be pinned on a map, capture high def videos of what’s on the screen, and measure distances using paths, circles and other shapes. It can measure the acreage of an area quickly or open ESRI files, the common format for Geographic Information Systems.

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X-RAY VISION AND BEYOND

Chromoscope.net displays the Milky Way (our galaxy) in several wavelengths. If you were an alien with x-ray vision the galaxy would look quite different to you, so probably would we. Wave lengths shown add gamma rays and radio waves. Here’s looking at you, kid.

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LOOK UP

EarthSky.org shows you where to look for planets and star formations visible with the naked eye. Jupiter and Venus are visible in the eastern sky this month. Jupiter will be visible right through December. We were amazed by how bright it is. Bob thought it was an approaching comet, but Google saved him from panicking. Venus is most visible around dawn. (Are they watching Earth?)

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SCIENCE NEWS HOUR AT PBS

PBS NewsHour just launched “PBS NewsHour Science” pbs.org/newshour/topic/science — the latest news in science, engineering and technology. We read about deaf dolphins, ancient volcanoes and an infant black hole. The site is mostly text but has some videos. We liked the photos of tiny things multiplied hundreds of times. Features include: Breaking news stories Energy/Environment Corner Just Ask – a weekly Science Q&A Podcasts: download or subscribe to podcasts of all broadcast and online reports. Editor’s Choice: NewsHour editors select and feature the best reports and videos. NewsHour Extra: Links to lesson plans and student reporting. Twitter Feed: the Top 25 Science twitter feeds.

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STAR GAZING

Point your Android phone at the sky and find out what you’re looking at.

(CLICK UNDERLINE BELOW HEADING FOR MORE.)

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STARRY NIGHT

Anyone who has looked at the night sky has wondered about what they see. It would be nice to know if that bright star is Betelgeuse, in the belt of Orion the Hunter, or Polaris, the North Star that has guided so many travelers for thousands of years. In fact, most of us haven’t a clue.

So we have been trying out a new device from telescope maker Meade (Meade.com). It’s called MySky Plus.

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BOOKS

“Digital Astrophotography, A Guide to Capturing the Cosmos” by Stefan Seip; $30 from Rocky Nook Press, RockyNook.com.

Almost everyone likes pictures of the stars and the planets. You need a telescope, of course, but once you have that, using a digital camera has big advantages.

(CLICK HEADING FOR MORE.)

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BOOKS

“Digital Astrophotography, A Guide to Capturing the Cosmos” by Stefan Seip; $30 from Rocky Nook Press, RockyNook.com.

Almost everyone likes pictures of the stars and the planets. You need a telescope, of course, but once you have that, using a digital camera has big advantages.

(CLICK HEADING FOR MORE.)

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HOLD THE PHONE

Hold the phone. No, we don’t mean Apple’s iPhone, which has received enough publicity to qualify as a galactic event. It’s a cell phone for making phone calls. What a radical thought.

With no more suspense, it’s Samsung’s Jitterbug.

(CLICK HEADING FOR MORE.)

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WE SEE STARS — TOO MANY

We spent a couple of nights trying out the new Sky Scout from Celestron, a leading maker of telescopes. It’s a beautifully made piece of optical and electronic equipment for scouting the nighttime sky.

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