Okay, I’ve got something really nifty for all us ‘droid nerds out there this week. I was reviewing a rather nicely set up mobile phone & broadband website and seeing the next generation of Samsung Galaxy S class phone out there listed under “Best Selling Phones”, it reminded me I have been wanting to review my newest ‘droid app I stumbled upon a couple of weeks ago. (The next generation of Galaxy S phone is, btw, white. Weird, considering I am so used to mine which is black with a purple, shock-absorbing case surrounding it.)
Google Sky Map is the best app you could possibly hope for if you are a night sky watcher. A free, Open Source program donated by Google, over 175,000 users rate it a 5 out of 5 and with good reason. Point it anywhere, ANYWHERE, day or night, and it will show you exactly what is out there beyond planet Earth. It views stars, constellations, planets, Moon, Sun, Meteor Showers, the Horizon line, poles & Messier Objects (whatever that is). Any of these objects can be switched off with the flick of a finger for clearer viewing of your object(s) of study.
Perhaps one of the more fun perks of this app is called, “Time Travel”. Choose a date and a time somewhere between the years of 1900 – 2100 and view the sky as it would appear on that date. How cool is that? The Apollo 11 moon landing and solar eclipse of May 29, 1919 are pre-loaded under popular dates, but any date and time is programmable into the interface for your viewing study and pleasure. Once in Time Travel mode, one can tap the buttons to move forward or backwards in time at the ratio of anywhere from real time (1 second to 1 second) to 1 week per second. Teach kids how the movements of the planets appear from Earth in a real neat way.
Having trouble locating the object of your interest? There is a search mode. Just plug in the name of whatever it is you want to view and the app will find it for you on the map. Under the Gallery you can view beautiful shots of our sister planets, nebulas, galaxies, the Pleiades and star clusters as the Hubble telescope has caught them on its cameras.
This is by far the most fun app we have come across in our reviews AND if you pick it up NOW, you will be able to see many of the planets aligned in a straight line including Pluto, Neptune, the Sun, Mercury, Uranus, Venus and Jupiter. Quite a line up, especially when the Moon gets into the act during the evening hours.
As always, we welcome feedback, comments, etc. Pick up Google Sky Map for yourself, check it out and let us know what you think.