Google Earth but for the skies
Google has developed their aerial view for their maps application to give their users a new vision. Sky Map uses location services of your phone and displays an annotated image of the night sky.
Understanding the night sky with Google Sky Map
Better understand the skies with this easy to use astronomical assistant
The app uses GPS, compass and accelerometer data to allow you to better understand the stars and where different constellations are. You point your phone at a portion of the sky. Google Sky Map will show you the celestial objects you should see, along with their names.
You can also type in the name of an object that interests you, and the app will help you locate it. It displays a circle and an arrow pointing you in the right direction.As you get close, the circle becomes red; as you move further away, the circle will become more blue. When you are looking directly at the object, the circle turns orange. Although this sounds like it would be an easy system to work with, the arrow sometimes flips or is incorrect; this may occur due to spotty reception.
This application has a layering system like Google Earth. This allows you to toggle certain types of information. For example, if you are searching for planets, you can turn off the Stars layer to unclutter your screen. To better navigate you towards different stars, this tool relies on your GPS and live location. Different users will have different views on the privacy implications of this. However, the constant use of GPS drains your battery. Another issue that is common with this program is that if at the zenith of the sky, the app doesn't function correctly.
Where can you run this program?Sky Map is available for Android devices using Android 1.5 or a newer operating system.
Is there a better alternative?No, there are similar products like Distant Suns, Star Walker, and the NASA app, which do the same thing but are available on both Android and iOS.
Sky Map doesn't try to pack in too many features. It works pretty well, apart from some issues when the app attempts to guide you to a star.
Should you download it?
Yes. If you are interested in astronomy, then this is a great way to start exploring the world above you.
- Scan the night sky with your device
- Directs you towards stars/planets
- Layers function
- Reliant on location settings
- Searching for stars can be difficult
- Doesn’t work well at the highest point in the sky