Google Sky

Common Sense Media says

Interactive space map needs an update.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Kids are encouraged to explore the night sky. Stunning images can inspire kids to further investigate space-related topics or careers.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Google Sky is an outer space version of Google Maps. It’s not live; what you see is compiled from data and images from sources like Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the Hubble Space Telescope, and NASA’s Chandra satellite. Google Sky has something for every age. Younger kids can see pictures of planets, galaxies, and exploding stars while older kids can use tools to click around the cosmos, search for celestial objects, and read or listen to podcasts to learn about space.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • astronomy

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • collecting data
  • investigation

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

The colorful and unexpected nature of space comes to Earth via images from satellites, space surveys, and the Hubble telescope.

Learning Approach

Objects have identifying information, but you get no tools to personalize the night sky and no activities. Kids can explore independently, but the zoom feature makes things fuzzy and reveals little.

Support

A short video demonstrates Google Sky's features. Podcasts are several years old, although they cover topics like the search for life and the Orion Nebula.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • astronomy

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • collecting data
  • investigation

Kids can learn about planets, galaxies, stars, and constellations. The Hubble, Chandra X-Ray, GALEX Ultraviolet, and Spitzer Infrared showcases provide pictures that display on the map with information pop-ups. Google Sky encourages kids to explore space, but it lacks features to help them connect what's on the screen to the sky over their heads.

This Learning Rating review was written by Michelle Kitt

Parents say

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Kids say

What's it about?

Drag the star map in all directions and zoom in on objects of interest. Kids can use the search box to find stuff like planets or stars, and then drag and zoom around those, too. For different views, click the infrared, microwave, and historical layers -- one at a time or all at once. Kids can explore showcases listed at the bottom of the page; the Chandra X-Ray, Galex Ultraviolet, Spitzer Infrared, and Hubble Space Telescope showcases are the most useful as they display images and information right on the map.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The hundreds of bright dots against GOOGLE SKY’s dark expanse of space beg to be explored. Zoom in and the whole thing loses gas like a dying white dwarf star. A bright blue dot becomes a bigger, fuzzy blue dot and Google Sky doesn’t say what it is, where it is, or if you can see it in your backyard sky (kids will ask). Linked sky-gazing podcasts from Earth & Sky could help, but the most recent is from 2008. Showcases from reputable sources like the Sloan Digital Sky Survey supply stunning pictures -- also from 2008 -- but the information pop-ups may be too advanced for most kids. Try visiting the sources directly; Earth & Sky still publishes daily podcasts and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey continues today. But neither beats a peek through a telescope at the real thing.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about timeliness and websites. If a website is one year out of date, do you trust its information? What about five years or 10? Does it depend on the topic? Are there types of websites for which timeliness don't matter?

  • Check out our review of sky-gazing mobile apps like Celese SE and SkyView and head outside for a look at what's in your night sky.

Website details

Genre:Educational
Topics:Space and aliens
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free

This review of Google Sky was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written byThe Euphoric User March 22, 2013
AGE
10
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

A great site about the universe, though as just said it needs an update

The limitless boundaries of space truly is fascinating, isn't it? Though I would recommend Scale of the Universe 2 a whole lot more.
What other families should know
Great messages

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