Man once gazed at the stars and wondered... now there's an app for that
The recent close proximity of Jupiter and Venus in the night sky sent smartphone owners scrabbling to download Google Sky Map. Anyone on Windows Phone 7 would have been left with the familiar feeling of being the odd one out at the party.
A trawl through the Windows Phone Market turned up an excellent alternative; Sky Map Free. As with most free apps, the trade-off for not upgrading to the paid version (£1.29) is the inclusion of adverts. Thankfully, these are fairly unobtrusive, being displayed at the bottom of the map.
In most ways, Sky Map Free is vastly similar to Google Sky Map. Upon installation you might need to shake your phone to get it to find your location correctly. Once this is done, point it at the sky.
The map itself is detailed and stars can be added or removed depending on how much information you want on screen. Constellations are presented with their outlines, so Capricornus will appear as a goat. Items in the night sky can be searched and you can zoom in to pin-point what you're looking at more precisely.
It wasn't immediatey clear exactly what some of the options do, but a quick tap displayed a label to explain its function. The interface in general can be a bit confusing though, which makes navigating around the app a headache.
As a way of better understanding the night sky, or just working out what that shiny thing is, Sky Map Free is a great app.
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Lots of information about the night sky and most of it is well presented
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