Google Sky Map beta for Android is sort of like Google Maps for the night sky… except it doesn’t just let you locate the locations of stars, planets, constellations, and other astronomical features by searching or scrolling through the map. You can actually point your phone at the sky, and Sky Map will use your device’s GPS and compass to help you locate the actual positions of various features in the sky.
For instance, say you want to know where Jupiter is. You can enter Jupiter in the search box, and Sky Map will throw a purple circle in the middle of your screen with an arrow on one side. Move your phone toward that arrow until it either changes position or tells you that it’s found Jupiter. Now when you look up in the direction your phone is pointing you should actually be looking at Jupiter. Whether it’s visible by the human eye at that moment in time is another story.
Google recently rolled out an update to Google Sky. Version 1.5 adds imagery from the Hubble space telescope. You can either just look at the pretty pictures, or use Sky Map to locate the astronomical points you’re looking at in the sky. The new version also has a few bug fixes and internationalization features.
Google Sky Map beta is available as a free download from the Android Market.