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Google Sky gives a close-up view of the universe

Screenshot of Google SkyA new service called Google Sky lets people enter their postcode to see how the night sky would look when seen from outside their own home.

It should prove to be the ideal tool for those too lazy to go and look in their back garden themselves, presumably.

The software, launched on the internet today, uses a library of images from telescopes on earth and Nasa's Hubble Space Telescope.

Users can zoom in on areas of the heavens and see constellations, planets and galaxies.

The map contains images of 100 million stars and 200 million galaxies. Users can "fly" to different parts of the universe and zoom in as much as the imagery allows.

The system also has a "backyard astronomy" section, which shows people the constellations they can see from their home.

To access Google Sky, download the new Google Earth at http://earth.google.com.

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