Imagine you are strolling along Balboa Park at night, taking a breather from the crazy world of college and absorbing the scenery of San Diego. You cross an empty bench in a secluded area of the park and decide to have a seat. Looking up at the night sky, you are struck with shock as you realize the stars are hardly visible. Oh, the joys of city lights. The vast open space that sits atop our heads has become more mysterious and harder to see.
In November the MYSky app will allow users to control a powerful telescope and take a high-quality image of space objects. Users can scroll through a catalog of planets, constellations and other space objects, then send a request to the telescope for a live image. Depending on user traffic, a live image will be sent to your device within 20 minutes, according to the Slooh Space Camera Collaboration, which developed the app. The app is free, but the images will cost 99 cents.
Michael Paolucci founded the collaboration, which created the “out of this world” app, in 2003. It allows people to have a live view of space through the web. Currently, its facilities are located on the Canary Islands, Chile. Slooh’s mission is to promote scientific enlightenment and restore mankind’s connection to the seasonal ebb and flow of the night sky.
In the past, planet exploration seemed impossible and was only thought of as a mere theme for a Ray Bradbury novel. But once the space race began in the 1960s, people looked up into the night sky and drooled at the possibilities of space exploration. Leading up to John Glenn’s orbit of Earth and astronauts following, it seemed that everyone was constantly anticipating what was next for space exploration, prompting interest in the world of astronomy.
In our society today, there isn’t much interest in space, even as we continue to make breakthroughs, such as the recent landing of NASA’s Curiosity on Mars. Slooh hopes to turn this disinterest around by offering people a chance to receive actual images from space.
MYSky isn’t the only app offering new methods of exploring space and its many wonders. GoSoftWorks created a free app called GoSkyWatch for Apple users, which allows users to identify objects in the sky. The app even allows you to move around the area of the specific object, creating an interactive experience.
With this app GoSoftWorks is trying to mesh the world of technology with the outdoors. Our fascination with computers and handheld devices has caused our society to be more enthralled with the screens in front of it than the world beyond itswindows. GoSkyWatch allows you to explore the world outside, while using the technology many hold on to so deeply.
Slooh is currently asking for donations on Indiegogo.com to raise additional funds for the project and gage user interest. Sounds like a small price to pay for access to a piece of the universe in the palm of your hand.