This one's for the giddy-little astronomer in all of us. Like a bunch of schoolkids, on Dec. 10 before the break of dawn, many of us will jauntily find our ways out and gazing at the open skies to watch the final total Lunar Eclipse to be seen for the next two years. But just in case 2:30 AM (EST) is too early for you to be waking up, a new app from Southern Stars is sure to be of some use to you. SkySafari, which is something like Google Earth but for the Universe (and with cool stuff like time-lapse tools and detailed info about various celestial beings), is coming to Android officially by the end of the month; but the developers wanted to celebrate the unusual event with a free beta release to interested users, and you're on that list.
The app, which has already found itself fairly popular in the iOS ecosystem, allows you to not only see what the night sky looks like at the current date/time, but will also show you the transitions of that sky through any time period. If you won't be awake to see the Eclipse for yourself, use SkySafari to select the date and time of the Eclipse (December 10th at 2:30 AM EST) and watch the moon virtually as its shape is transformed through the night. It will be a sight worth seeing that you won't want to miss, and now you don't even really have to.
Read the company Press Release after the break announcing how to get access to the beta app and see for yourself what all the hubbub in space is all about.
Total Lunar Eclipse brings SkySafari to Android
Award-winning iOS app developer launches Android version
with free public beta to track last total lunar eclipse until 2014.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, December 8th, 2011 - During the early hours of Saturday, December 10th, 2011, the last total lunar eclipse until more than two years from now will take place. To celebrate this rare celestial event, Southern Stars, a developer of award-winning astronomy apps and accessories for Apple mobile devices, is launching a free public beta of its SkySafari app for Android mobile devices.
The iOS versions of SkySafari have been downloaded more than 900,000 times from the iTunes Store. SkySafari has won multiple awards, including a MacWorld 2010 Best-of-Show, Sky & Telescope Magazine's Hot Product award for 2012, and an endorsement by Astronomers Without Borders. SkySafari is the only mobile astronomy app which can correctly reproduce this December's total lunar eclipse, or any other. SkySafari's Plus and Pro versions have the largest database of any mobile astronomy app, and are the only ones which can control backyard telescopes.
And now, SkySafari is coming to Android. Southern Stars founder Tim DeBenedictis writes, "A total lunar eclipse is a spectacular celestial event that everyone can see. It's the perfect occasion for us to launch our Android app, help millions of viewers follow the eclipse, and give them a high-quality introduction to the hobby of amateur astronomy on the mobile devices they use every day."
Although not yet for sale on the Android Market, Southern Stars is making a free public beta of SkySafari for Android available from its web site. To download the beta, view this page from the web browser built into your Android device:
The beta requires Android OS version 2.2 ("Froyo") or later. It will run on Android tablets as well as phones. The beta will expire on December 31st, 2011. The final version of SkySafari will be available for sale on the Android Market by that date.
The iOS and Mac OS X versions of SkySafari will also be offered for sale during the eclipse. Starting Friday, December 9th, 2011, the basic versions of SkySafari 3 for iOS and SkySafari for Mac OS X will be offered for free on the iTunes Store. The Plus and Pro versions of SkySafari will be on sale at up to 50% off regular prices. Sale prices will run through Monday, December 12th, 2011.
To download SkySafari 3 for iOS, go to the iTunes store by clicking this link:
To download SkySafari for Mac OS X, go to the Mac App Store by clicking this link:
More information about Saturday's total lunar eclipse, including video and instructions for how to track it, can be found here:
About Southern Stars
Southern Stars is a world leader in mobile applications for astronomy, and has been developing planetarium software since 1993. In 2009, Southern Stars developed SkyFi, the first wireless iPhone-based solution for telescope control. That product, and the first version of the SkySafari iPhone app, won a MacWorld 2010 Best of Show award. Southern Stars was the also the first company to ship a Made-for-iPad serial cable for iOS devices (SkyWire). Southern Stars was the also the first company to ship a Made-for-iPad serial cable for iOS devices (SkyWire). To date, Southern Stars' iPhone apps have been downloaded more than 900,000 times, and are now available for Mac OS X and - very soon - Android.
Headquartered in San Francisco, Southern Stars has more than three decades of collective experience in developing astronomical software, telescope control systems, and instrumentation.