Stargazing for Beginners with Google Sky Map

Want to impress your friends with your astronomy skills, but don’t know a star from a planet in the sky? Here’s an app called Google Sky Map which will help you find those stars, planets and constellations in the sky, without having to dive into those astronomy books.

All you need to do is to download it on your Android device, start the app and point your phone to the skies. The app charts out the entire sky with starts, constellations and planets, so you know where they are in the skies.

Sky Maps utilizes your phone’s GPS, accelerometer and compass to give you live updates as you move and turn your phone around. It’s pretty cool to see the starts in the sky charted out and moving around as you turn. Even if you are not an astronomy buff, you’ve got to try this app out at least once.

If you know the names of a few planets or stars, you can even search for them and see where they appear in the night skies.

Search Results - Move around to find it now

Here are some of the features of Google Sky Map:

  • Search: Find planets, stars, and constellations guided by your phone.
  • Motion detection: Sky Map uses your phone’s GPS, accelerometer, and compass to create a window in the sky that moves with your hand.
  • Celestial objects: Browse a map showing the brightest naked-eye stars, planets, sun and moon, constellation lines, horizon, cardinal points, and Messier Objects.
  • Navigation: Use automatic mode to let Sky Map adjust the map for you or switch to a manual mode that allows the map to be dragged with a finger.

Sky Map should work on any Android device which runs Android 1.5 or higher and has a built-in compass functionality. If your phone doesn’t have the compass function, the application will run only in manual mode.

To download this app, Search for “Sky Map” in the Android Market or scan the QR code below using your phone.You can head out to the Google Sky Map FAQ page to learn more about Google Sky Map.

Scan this image on your phone to download Google Sky Map

Here are some screenshots from the application:

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Vinu Thomas

Vinu is a Technical Architect working on Web technologies and a mobile enthusiast, who likes trying out new gadgets and apps. You can follow him on Twitter @vinuthomas

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