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The app is incredibly easy to use, and much less fiddly than the old star chart/ torch combo that many of us amateur astronomers have relied on in the past! You just point your phone at the sky to see which stars, constellations and planets (neatly labelled) you are looking at. As you move your phone the map scrolls automatically and shows you the celestial objects in every direction. You can also switch to manual mode and explore the star charts yourself.
Looking for a specific star? Want to check out Mars? There is a very handy search function. You type in the object you want to see and an arrow directing you there will pop up on your screen. I really appreciate the constellation maps as they make it simple to pick out the complicated shapes in the sky, and I also like being able to quickly put names to the visible planets.
Any students studying astronomy would benefit hugely from this app, and it will turn stargazing homework into an easy and enjoyable family activity, so their parents will love it too! Sky Map would also be attractive to any student interested in Greek mythology (or Percy Jackson fans) and I would suggest promoting it in conjunction with a quality book of myths and legends so that students can read all about the stars’ namesakes. It will work during the daytime, so you could even use it during class to get your students hooked.
Have you ever used Google Sky Map? Are there any similar apps that you like?
image by mirindas27
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