What The Tech: App Of The Day, Night Sky
CHARLOTTE,N.C. — The big question this week is “Did you see those pictures of space?”. My friends are all talking about those amazing photos from the James Webb Space Telescope showing stars and galaxies from billions of years ago (to us it looks like yesterday). If you’ve seen them you might also be wondering what you can see when you look up at the stars.
Night Sky is a star gazer’s dream. It’s also one of the first smartphone apps that made us go wow. Launched in 2011, Night Sky was one of the first smartphone apps to use a phone’s gyroscope and GPS location. The app maps the universe and uses the phone’s camera to label stars, planets, moons, and constellations. It even shows satellites flying through the sky.
As you move the camera, the app crosses the sky to reveal what’s out there. On a clear night, you can use the Night Sky app to show what’s above you. I tried it and could spot a small star that was actually Mars. Someone with even an entry-level telescope could spot Saturn and the constellation Capricornus. Without the app, I’d just think I’m looking at a bunch of stars.
It’s called Night Sky but you can use it indoors. Using augmented reality the app turns the ceiling into your own private planetarium. Below you’ll see the contents of your room but the ceiling turns into the sky with names of everything you’d see if you weren’t inside.
Packed with information, Night Sky has new special features that show what time star gazing is optimal, based on cloud cover. It’s also packed with news, images, and the opportunity to connect and chat about celestial things with other stargazers and astronomers.
Night Sky is a free app but $30 a year gives you more features. It’s only available for iPhones, iPads, and yep, the Apple Watch. The app even sends notifications when you should go outside and look up. If you’re always wondering “What’s Up?”, you’ll love Night Sky.