Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Google Sky Map

A really nice application for the Android platform that allows you to identify the night sky objects with a lot of ease. It has a sort of “point and shoot” feel to it because you only need to point the phone at the desired portion of the sky and you will get an image on the screen with all the night sky objects that should be there complete with names. The great thing about it is that it works in full motion , meaning that no matter in what way you move your hand( pitch, yaw, roll), on the screen you will have a digital artificial image of what is actually behind the

You also get a pretty useful set of options like having the ability to choose what to display on the screen( horizon, stars, planets etc). Another cool thing is that you will always have the right representation of your local sky because the application will use GPS if it's available or use the network provided location. If both fail you can always set the location manually. The search functionality is also pretty handy in the sense that once you searched for an object you get an arrow on the screen that points toward that object and helps you move the device in the right direction on the sky. Sure enough you get a manual mode in which you can drag the sky map in any direction with your fingers without needing to actually point the device towards the desired area of the sky.

All you passionate astronomers out there worrying about the brightness of the screen, can relax: the application has a really handy “Toggle night mode” feature that will preserve the all precious night vision.

You can get the application free by browsing the Android Market or by scanning the image below with the device's bar code scanner

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