Skyview (app): discover the night sky while camping

Marty and I decided to bring a blue tarp when hiking along the Te Araroa trail in New Zealand. Could this have been terrible if we got caught in a storm? Yes.

Setting up our tarp in Macetown, New Zealand. Benefits of a tarp? Stargazing.

Setting up our tarp in Macetown, New Zealand. Benefits of a tarp? Stargazing.

SkyView offers augmented reality to display constellations on any smartphone. 

SkyView offers augmented reality to display constellations on any smartphone. 

However, we lined up head-to-head under the tarp with six other hikers to have an open view of the night sky. The Southern Cross, which appears on New Zealand's flag, is one constellation that can only be scene in the southern hemisphere.

So, how do we find the Southern Cross without the help of a kiwi (someone from New Zealand)

SkyView: constellations on your screen

SkyView, like PeakFinder, uses augmented reality to display the night sky's constellations right on your phone.

Imagine holding your phone like a pair of binoculars. As the screen moves around, you discover new stars, planets, and their names.

Pretty cool? Yup.

The app let's you explore what is already visible. Or, type in the name of a constellation or star and SkyView guides you to the location. Nifty.

There is also background information about the stars to put this mass universe into perspective. To me, this feels like the adult version of those projector planetariums because now the real night sky is the backdrop.

The outdoors basically becomes a classroom and nothing is better than that.

Is that a satellite, star, or planet?

First, some basics. If it is blinking and moving across the sky it is a satellite or plane. Also, planets are generally visible with the naked eye and do not twinkle like stars.

If you are drinking a few beers and the debate goes further than it should then use SkyView to settle the argument. Point your phone at the item and learn who won the bet.

How do you pass the time after the campfire goes out?

'Travel Tech' is a column dedicated to apps and gadgets that helps the diabetic community explore the world. We love blood sugar management tools along with orientation, finding tickets and events, booking hostels, taking photographs, and everything in between. If you have any suggestions, drop us a line.