Sky Guide is your iOS window to the universe.

For quite some time, Starbucks has been giving free music away to loyal customers on Tuesdays. This music giveaway promotion started in store and Stabucks gradually moved the promotion over to their mobile app. Since its partnership has tightened with Apple and iTunes, now the app offers free app downloads on Tuesdays, too. I’ve used this nifty reward program for a while and have downloaded a few songs, but mostly ignored the option until apps were included. Now, I download an app nearly every week. This week’s app was Star Guide.

sky guideSky Guide is an app that allows users to identify constellations and stars simply by pointing your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad at different points in the sky. I’ve been wanting an app like this for a long time and was estatic when I saw it was Starbucks’s app of the week. Sky Guide is an interactive window to the stars. It is actually the product of over 37,000 photographs. When you start up Sky Guide, it asks permission to use location services to pinpoint where you are in the world. Once it targets you, the app then uses the sensors within the iOS device to determine where you are pointing it in the sky.

The interface is spectacular. It’s built on a high resolution sky panorama and allows users to select any stars out of the sky to receive more information on it. I randomly tapped the screen and found out more information about the star Sirius than I had known before. There is also a search function that allows users to search for stars or constellations. When you select a search result, you are taken back to the panorama with directional arrows pointing you towards the star or constellation you just searched.

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One of the things that impressed me the most was the horizon line. The sky guide didn’t stop when I moved my iPhone below the horizon line. It showed all the stars and constellations that were currently below the horizon line where we live. Also, I tested this app while I was in my house. It was cloudy and I couldn’t actually see the stars, but the app still showed me where they should be.

Sky Guide is a very educational and entertaining app. I recommend this to anyone who is interested in Astronomy or even if you are like me and can’t find any other constellations except Orion and the dippers.