IVOA: Final comments, late at night

The ADASS/IVOA marathon is over.
I have seen a lot of interesting application, talked to a lot of people and realized that many believe GoogleSky is a nice interface, but many others believe Google is evil and trying to take the world by storm.

Ryan Scranton presented the GoogleSky interface at the IVOA meeting, with mostly nice reviews and a lot of interest. In particular he said "if GoogleSky is to be successful, we need to provide astronomers with tools". I could not agree more, and we will make sure to push Google to do just that.

Ryan seemed to be honestly interested in delivering tools or products to the astronomical community and this is very good, but we also have to be aware that we it will need time and effort from the community. This is what we have to do and I believe STScI has a large role to play. Not everyone believes this and this is hurting our small collaboration. I am confident they are wrong, simple because single astronomers do not have the credibility of an institution that delivered (and still does) quality products to the public at large and the astronomical community: this is where we can make sure Google does indeed make GoogleSky a great product.

As I wrote in an old email to Google, well before GoogleSky was a reality, after the release and the realization of Phase 1 (GoogleSky to the desktop and available to a large public), we need to focus on serving the small (but vocal) astronomical community for Phase 2.

So here we are Google. STScI is ready to continue to work with you!


  1. I'm quite disappointed to see that Pluto and Eris are not included with the planets in Google Sky. This is a great disservice to viewers. Is there any way you can add them via an update?

  2. Laurel ! Not here too !!! Have you checked whether it has all eight eight solar system bodies over 200 miles across ????

    Alberto, w.r.t. your comment on my own blog recently, I only just spotted the excellent astro-ph paper, and I note that you and Carol Christian are indeed co-authors. Just make sure NASA still owns the data ...

  3. Laurel: lots of small solar systems bodies might be added soon.

    Andy: NASA does indeed own the data, we spent a lot of time working with Google to ensure this. And yes, Carol and I have been working with Google since the beginning...

  4. Alberto - Laurel doesn't really care about all the small solar system bodies. She is campaigning for Pluto to be re-instated as a "planet", and comments on people's blogs all over the Universe, e.g. mine here. Google going along with the IAU could be the last nail in the coffin, as ye public will take this as definitive...

  5. Andy, with all due respect, please don't speak for me. I do care about all the small solar system bodies. If you look back to my original post, you will see that I said I'm disappointed that both Pluto and Eris--which I believe are our ninth and tenth planets--are not included in Google Sky. Yes, I do want Pluto reinstated as a planet, but I also have clearly stated time and again that I believe all solar system objects that have achieved hydrostatic equilibrium should be defined as "planets."

    "Last nail in the coffin"--dream on. The IAU definition will never stand, and I am proud to actively oppose it whenever and wherever possible.