This Free App Allows You to Explore the Galaxy Right From Your Yard
Until this year, the last time astronauts launched to orbit from the United States was on July 8, 2011, marking what Americans were told would be the last flight of NASA's Space Shuttle.
I grew up watching shuttle launches both on television and from Cocoa Beach in Florida. Visits to the Kennedy Space Center when I was a kid was my favorite adventure and my heart hurt that my son might not ever get to experience all of the same excitement.
And then, on May 27 of this year, NASA and SpaceX launched two American astronauts into space from American soil and my family was glued to the television. Since then, my five-year-old has been fascinated with learning about space, and the night sky last Saturday was beautiful and bright and so we set out to explore the galaxy right from our front yard with our SkyView app.
The SkyView app is free to download and allows users to point the camera of their phone at the sky and it will identify any star, planet, or constellation you may see. The app has another awesome feature that my family discovered on Saturday night. With the app, you can even identify satellites, including the International Space Station.
As we were identifying stars on the SkyView app, we noticed what looked like a very bright airplane moving across the sky but when we pointed our app at it, the app identified the object as the International Space Station. I switched my phone to record and was able to capture the fast-moving Space Station as it flew right over our house.
If you look closely at the video below that I took on Saturday night, you'll see the Space Station just as we did. Just look for the white dot.
Interested in exploring the sky? The SkyView app is free and available for both iPhone and Android. Oh, and fun fact- the International Space Station circles the earth every 90 minutes and if you want to know when it will be over your house, you can enter your address and get the dates and times you'll be able to see it.