Stargazing app gets a major update.
I’ve always enjoyed looking at the stars, but I’ve never been very good at spotting constellations or knowing which stars are which. A few years ago, I was introduced to Sky Guide for iOS, which has been a great app for me to keep on my phone. You can use it to identify and spot constellations, stars, and planets in the sky. Just a few months ago, I used it while I was at a cookout with some friends. We spotted some bright stars in the sky and wondered if they were planets or not. I pulled out my phone and opened Sky Guide which promptly identified the bright stars and allowed us to find even more celestial bodies.
In conjunction with the release of iOS 12, Sky Guide’s developer Fifth Star Labs, LLC launched a major update to the app bringing it to version 7.0 (and then 7.1 shortly after that). Claiming it is the ‘biggest update ever,’ Fifth Star Labs, LLC added several new features including:
Featured: If it’s worth knowing about, you’re sure to find it in Featured, a curated collection of in-depth news, stories, reviews, tips and more.
Calendar: From supermoons to solar eclipses, planetary alignments, meteor showers and more, you’ll know well in advance when something is about to happen. Plus, events are filtered to your location so you’ll never be let down by an event that was not visible to you in the first place.
Tonight: View the evening agenda, all in one place. Tonight is the first item in your Calendar and provides a detailed summary of visible planets, stargazing weather conditions, satellite passes and a handy light pollution map that lets you check conditions at home or your favorite observing site.
Siri Shortcuts: “Hey Siri, what star is that?”
Identifying something in the sky is now quicker than ever. With Shortcuts available in iOS 12 you can simply point your iPhone at a bright star, planet or satellite in the sky, say your preferred Shortcut phrase like “What star is that?” and Siri will tap into Sky Guide, identifying the object.
Sky Guide has always made stargazing easy, but now, these developments make it possible for me to get more out of the night sky. My favorite feature of version 7 is the Calendar/Tonight. I never seem to know when the different phases of the moon are going to happen or when certain celestial events are going to take place. I have tried to keep a moon phase reminder on my regular calendar, but it gets so cluttered that I don’t like to keep adding to it. So, I really like that the app I use for stargazing now has an events calendar built into it. It’s nice to have it all in one place.
Using these new features is very easy. When you open the updated version, you will see a screen of the current sky view and where stars and constellations are present. At the bottom of the screen, you will see a settings wheel, an icon for the Featured section, an icon for the Calendar, and the search icon. When you tap on the Featured icon, you will be brought to a scrolling feed of related news stories. When you open the Calendar icon, you will see the ‘Tonight’ view, which you can expand to read more and the rest of the astrological calendar. The Siri Shortcuts are actually set-up through the Siri menu in the phone’s settings.
I’ve been a fan of Sky Guide for quite some time, but these updates really make it something to share with others. The app is available to download for a one-time charge of $2.99. If you are a previous user of the app, the update is free.