Touch Tech Review

July 20, 2009

Price Drop! Free Astronomy iPhone Apps

If you are one that enjoys astronomy, you will be glad to know that SkyGazer and SkyVoyager are both free today and today only, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing. Also free today, though it’s unlcear for how long, is MoonPreview.

SkyGazer is the intro version to SkyVoyager and shows every star the naked eye can see as well as star clusters nebulae and galaxies in the sky. It also displays the major planets (I assume Pluto as well), moons of the solar system using NASA images. It typically sells for $2.99 and money well spent if you have kids who ask too many questions about the stars (and not of the hollywood variety) you know nothing about.

SkyVoyager is for the professionals. It has a database of over 300,000+ stars and deep sky objects. SkyVoyager also gives a more detailed photgraphic rendition of the planets and moons using images from NASA and leading photographers. It also allows you to remotely control your telescope via wifi. Normally, $14.99, this app is quite robust and probably not necessary for the casual sky viewer, but for free, why not get both and delete the one you dont use?

MoonPreview displays an image of the moon every 4 hours in the event you can’t step outside or see it out the window. I am not sure where the pictures are coming from as the moon is up somewhere in the world. The only practical application I think of for this is to dangle it from the ceiling of your childs room, so they can gaze at the moon as the drift off to sleep. It could also add more realism to the living room ‘campout’ as well, I guess.

UPDATE: I downloaded and installed MoonPreview and currently (about 2pm PST), there is no moon displayed. Either, its daylight where the pictures are originating from, or there is a new moon tonight. I guess i will have to step outside tonight and see. ‘There is an app for that’, my @$$.

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