Google Earth as a Planetarium

Introducing Sky in Google Earth: Financial News – Yahoo! Finance
I remember the days when I shelled out $50 for a good planetarium program. (Redshift).
Now, there are not only freeware planetarium sims out there, but now, this:
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Google today announced the launch of Sky, a new feature that enables users of Google Earth to view the sky as seen from planet Earth.
With Sky, users can now float through the skies via Google Earth. This easy-to-use tool enables all Earth users to view and navigate through 100 million individual stars and 200 million galaxies. High resolution imagery and informative overlays create a unique playground for visualizing and learning about space.
To access Sky, users need only click “Switch to Sky” from the “view” drop-down menu in Google Earth, or click the Sky button on the Google Earth toolbar. The interface and navigation are similar to that of standard Google Earth steering, including dragging, zooming, search, “My Places,” and layer selection.

The Star with a Comet’s tail

NASA – Mira: A Star with a Comet’s Tail
A friend pointed me to this story, about the star Mira. Oddly, due to its strange, fast motion relative to the rest of the galaxy, the red giant star has developed a tail like a comet as it hurtles through the galaxy. The tail is 13 light years long and its the first time anything like this has ever been seen.
While the physics of how a tail would develop seem clear–its like the wake behind a boat, just what would cause a star to move at such a fast rate, out of sync with the rest of the galaxy, is a very good question.