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Monday, March 26, 2012

Starwalk: See the Sky in a whole new way

Orion on Starwalk
Wesley Fryer's Starwalk Picture
The stars were beautiful in Medicine Hat, Canada this past week. Stunning. But they were also educational. As Steve Dembo (@teach42) and James Hollis (@jameshollis) pointed their ipads and iphones at the sky, Starwalk was adding an overlay on the world that was remarkable.

This is the kind of homework we should be giving. This incredible iphone app or ipad app, when pointed at the sky, determines the stars, planets, etc. that you're looking at and labels them for you.

As I searched on Google, I saw that my friend Wesley Fryer (@wfryer) had snapped a picture just 17 hours a go of the sky and Al Gonzalez (@educatoralreviewed this app back in 2010 at the trustworthy review site, Iear.org)

Everyone who looked at this app during the three days we were in Medicine Hat would suddenly forget the cold, gaze at the sky and their jaw would drop open.

This is a great example of augmented reality (see a Simple Lesson in Augmented Reality.) Reality is being enhanced with apps and online tools and it is quite incredible that such an app can recognize stars and overlay meaning on top.

Using the website "alternative to" I see only one good suggestion for Android, Google Sky Map, although I haven't tested that one.
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