I rarely endorse software, but this is a first because I’m excited about a software program that I don’t own and have never even operated with my own fingers. So enthusiastic I’m going to get a “computer” just so I can run it. The program only costs 3 dollars; the smartphone to run it will cost me a few hundred.
Outside at night there’s lots of stars and constellations, but only a few are certain to me : the two Dippers and thus Polaris the North star, Orion, Cassiopeia (the Lazy W), and the Pleiades. I might be able to find Andromeda and the Magellanic Clouds, but not with confidence. I regularly take photographs of our Milky Way – but am not always certain when I am looking at its center.
To improve my skyward navigation I have star charts, maps and a load of books. However, few of them have ever left me with long term solid knowledge of the mapping our amazing heavens.
Recently a fun friend, Jim Eagle, showed me a program on his smartphone called Star Walk and in seconds I was hooked.
It shows a map of our starry skies that mirrors the sky it is held up against – even as you move it around the sky !
It knows what the sky looks like because it knows where you are and what time it is. Then as you tilt and move the phone it knows to re-adjust to the correct position in the sky. This is so cool.
It just gets better from there. You can have the stars overlaid with constellations, or click on a star or planet to get detailed info on that object. And of course since its a smartphone you can easily zoom in and out.
Well, that’s all I know from watching Jim operate it – but that’s all I need to know.
The website says it only runs on Iphones and Ipads so far. But that’s OK. Its that cool.