Since most folks now have some sort of smart phone, tablet, or laptop, there is a huge number of apps that are to be had. Some entertain, like Angry Birds. But there have been a number of decent apps for astronomy, and one of the oldest astronomy softwares has done something quite awesome.
Perhaps you have heard of Distant Suns which has been making astronomy software since 1985. You can look for particular stars, planets, and interesting celestial objects such as galaxies, clusters, etc. They also have an app for smart phones as well.
Distant Suns isn’t the only astronomy app out there, another popular one being Night Sky. But it was recently announced that Distant Suns has partnered with SETI. In this venture you can now look to see what the Alan Telescope Array (ARA) is looking at at any give time. What that means is you can find out where they are looking for advanced civilizations at any given time! At this time, it seems it is only on the Distant Suns (max) app for iPhone and iPad.
Looking now, it says the ATA is not up, but that could change any time. There are interesting things to explore; I noticed that the app says where the Kepler telescope is pointed as it tries to discover other planets (and informs SETI searches).
This is some really cool stuff and wonder access to astronomy info, including finding what’s up int he sky tonight. And on that note; check out Venus in the morning (when it is called Lucifer), Mars after sunset, and Jupiter is up around 10:30 PM EST. Saturn and Mercury are probably too close to the sun at sunset to be visible. Also note that Orion, a seasonal constellation is rising around midnight EST. What does that mean?
Winter is coming…