Skies Offers Partial Information for Amateur Astronomers

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skies iphone appIt was a dark and stormy night, so it was a good thing I had Shane MCCafferty's Skies app. With just a quick glance at my trusty iPhone, I was able to see it will be a dark and stormy night at 6pm, 9pm, 12am and 6am. In fact, it looks like it will be a dark and stormy night for 6 days in all.

Skies is an app for iPhone or iPod touch that indicates how transparent the sky will be over a 6-day period no matter where you are. The app, which gathers it's information from astroforecast.org, also shows the lunar phases.

Why anyone would need a specialized app to just know how transparent the skies will be over the next 6 days is lost on me. It's already easy to use your iPhone to get a good idea when the skies will be clear or cloudy. There's that nice weather lady on the TV too. I guess amateur astronomers without access to this information may appreciate a breakdown of transparency so they can determine the best day to breakout the telescope.

If you're planning to go stargazing, Skies could be helpful in guiding your decisions. However, most astronomical viewing trips are based more on what's happening in the sky on a given night than on how transparent the sky is for viewing the astronomical phenomena. For this reason, Skies is a fine complement to your astronomy toolkit, but it is by no means a comprehensive app. It would be great if Skies offered access to information about what is actually going on in the heavens above — such as annual dates for meteor showers or when the next planetary alignments will occur.

Skies is in the Entertainment category, so the developer must think it's fun. I guess if I was an astrophysicist or in a moon worshipping cult I might think this is a real hoot too.

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  • vw

    why not use freeware iCSC instead and get mroe information