My son and I were walking his friend home in the evening when he asked me whether I knew the name of that bright star in the sky. I knew it was Jupiter (no kidding, thanks to being an adept listener of the Sternzeit podcast) but after a brief moment of consideration I reckoned it was the perfect opportunity to give Star Walk a try. This app features a “star spotter” mode that is supposed to help identifying celestial bodies.
To do this it is simply required to point the phone in the direction of the “star” and try to identify the right one from the map of stars displayed on the screen. And sure enough Jupiter would appear on screen approximately at the direction I was pointing at.
I was impressed. But then, as Uranus is currently positioned close to Jupiter, I am not sure whether I would still be able just by looking at the screen to figure out it was Jupiter without knowing that Uranus is pretty much invisible to the unarmed eye.
And yet, this experiment ended up rather promising. I will give it a further try next time the sky is clear enough to spot more than the brightest stars in the sky. There are rumors that the latest update of Star Walk features a cameo appearance of Santa on Christmas night …