December 11, 2023

Planetarium in your pocket

Planetarium in your pocket

The process is self-explanatory

On the left, the different categories of orbs can be selected (orange) and deselected (white). On the right edge, the key to move the map manually. Above the entry for free text search and access to settings. Photo: Sky Map / dpa-tmn

(Photo: dpa)

That’s why it’s worth installing Sky Map. The free app turns every Android smartphone into a pocket-sized planetarium. With a night sky map in hand, it was no longer difficult to identify stars, planets, and nebulae. If you like things more organized, you can also deselect the different categories of orbs on the left edge of the screen and thus hide them.

Many practical search functions

Full-text search can also be used, for example, to enter the name of a planet, star, or constellation you are looking for. Then you move your smartphone along the night sky. The search circle with directional arrow on the screen helps you and points you in the right direction until you find the object in question.

The map can be zoomed in and move automatically when the user moves or even just the smartphone. To do this, the application accesses the phone’s compass data. If a compass module is not installed in the smartphone, then automatic alignment will not work.

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Roam automatically or move manually

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The map can also be moved manually. This can be set on the right edge of the screen. This is also useful when exploring areas of the night sky far from where you are. Speaking of location: The app gets it from GPS data. Alternatively, the location can also be entered manually using latitude and longitude or simply using the place name.

The app was originally developed by the Google Project team in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University. But since 2012, Sky Map has become a open source projectmaintained by volunteers.

Sky Map on Google Play Store

Sky Map in F-Droid Store

Sky Map Team on Twitter