How to use Google hangouts to share astronomy
If you were wondering how Google+ can help you spread the wonders of the Universe with thousands of people, this is an excellent example.
Using Google+ Hangouts, a group of astronomy enthusiasts have been conducting virtual star parties shared by thousands of people around the world. Their efforts were highlighted in a new documentary presented by Google at their annual developer’s conference, Google I/O, in San Francisco on June 27, 2012.
“We’ve been holding Virtual Star Parties every Sunday night, where we pull together live feeds from multiple telescopes around the world and broadcast them into a live Google+ hangout,” said Fraser Cain, publisher of Universe Today, who instigated the online star parties along with astronomer Dr. Pamela Gay from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, and CosmoQuest, a new citizen-science and education project. “We’ve done dozens of them now, showcasing the Moon, the planets, and many deep-sky objects. The response has been overwhelming, as we’ve made it possible for people without telescopes or who have cloudy skies a chance to see the night sky from the comfort of their home.”
During one special 6-hour Google+ Virtual Star Party for the Transit of Venus, nearly 7,000 people viewed the group’s online event, which included multiple telescope views and images from around the world.
The Google documentary showcased not only the video chat technology of Google+ Hangouts and Hangouts On Air — which allows an unlimited number of people to participate — but also showed the incredible telescope views that can be shared online and featured several of the amateur astronomers who enjoy sharing a virtual look through their telescopes that this new technology allows.
The documentary is available for viewing online:
The Virtual Star Parties are held every Sunday night, once it gets dark on the West Coast of North America (about 9 p.m. PDT in the summer — 04:00 UTC). To watch live, just circle +Fraser Cain on Google+, or circle the +Virtual Star Party page.
P.S. Content for this blog post has been taken from a press release received from Universe Today.