Loch Ness Monster on Google Earth?

Loch Ness "monster" is latest wonder of Google Earth.

ByKI MAE HEUSSNER and NED POTTER
August 27, 2009, 2:58 PM

Aug. 28, 2009 — -- Millions have traveled to the shores of Scotland's Loch Ness, hoping to catch a rare glimpse of the world's most famous lake monster.

But earlier this week, a British man revealed that he spied the legendary Loch Ness monster while searching Google Earth from his very own home.

Jason Cooke, 25, a security guard from Nottingham, England, told the U.K.'s Sun that he spotted the monster while scanning the site's satellite imagery.

"I couldn't believe it. It's just like the descriptions of Nessie," he said.

The first recorded sighting of the monster was nearly 1,500 years ago when a giant beast is said to have leaped out of a lake near Inverness, Scotland, and ate a local farmer.

Since then, the myth of the Loch Ness monster has only magnified.

In 1934, a London doctor snapped a photograph that seemed to show a dinosaur-looking creature with a long neck emerging from the water. Then a home movie from 1960 showed a strange figure swimming in the water behind a family picnicking, although British intelligence later analyzed the film and concluded the figure was likely "something inanimate."

Of the millions of people who have looked into Loch Ness searching for something within, about 1,000 visitors have reported unusual sightings.

Unfortunately for Nessie-trackers, the "monster" spotted by Cooke looks an awful lot like a boat. But if you'd like to check it out for yourself, enter the following coordinates in Google Earth: Latitude 57°12'52.13"N, Longitude 4°34'14.16"W.

ABCNews.com has gone to the ends of Google Earth (and Maps) to explore some of the most interesting images left behind by Google staffers, artists, Mother Nature and a few pranksters as well.

The Loch Ness "monster" is only the latest wonder to surface. Here are a few other favorites, from the serious to the frivolous.

Not content to have become one of the most powerful information sources on this planet, engineers at Google recently conquered the Moon.

To mark the 40th anniversary this year of Apollo 11, Google's engineers partnered with NASA to add a new layer to their popular -- and free -- mapping program, Google Earth.

They inserted a detailed map of the lunar surface, as imaged by U.S. satellites. It becomes especially rich in material at the six sites where U.S. astronauts landed between 1969 and 1972, and where various robotic probes touched down in advance of Apollo.

To use it, one has to download the newest version of Google Earth, found HERE. It is separate from (and more detailed than) the lunar maps already found on the Google Web site; those have been there for about four years.

"I believe that this educational tool is a critical step into the future, a way to both develop the dreams of young people globally, and inspire new audacious goals," wrote Anousheh Ansari, the sponsor of the Ansari X Prize, and the first woman to travel in orbit as a space "tourist," on Google's blog.

"Finally, outer space doesn't seem so far away anymore."

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