While it starts to get warm, I hope pretty soon we will be able to walk outside in the yard or in the street at night. Every time, when we are out at night, my son likes to point at the stars telling me which is which. I don’t know much about the stars, so I did some search on apps that can help me learn about the sky. It is amazing how many astronomy apps are out there, ranging from very basic to very professional. It took me a while to focus down on two – “SkyView Free” and “Star Walk“.
Both apps can show you the stars and constellations while you hold your iPhone or iPAD up, like you are going to take a picture of the sky. The app will show you the stars you can see from your location on the device’s screen. While you move your device, the view will change with your move. If you tap on a star, or a constellation, the facts about that tapped object will show up at the bottom of the screen, such as name, location. If you want to learn a particular star or constellation, you can go to the list to find your object of interest. In addition to displaying information, you will also see an arrow on the screen to direct you to where it is.
SkyView Free is only available on iPhone, not iPAD. There is a premium version, costs $1.99, is also only available on iPhone. There are more facts in the premium version, but not too much.
If you are at a level beyond SkyView Free, I suggest you get Star Walk, instead of SkyView premium. At $2.99, Star Walk offers much more facts and better pictures. For example, it has a calendar of celestial events like planetary alignments, full moons, solar eclipses, and meteor showers. There is a quick live sky one page that details when planets will rise and set. With only $1 more, this is a much better deal.
For general learning with kids, or family fun, go with SkyView Free. If you are getting serious about learning astronomy, starts with Star Walk. Of course, if you want to go even further, there are more advanced astronomy apps, such as SkySafari.
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