SkySafari Offers Free Download for Lunar Eclipse Watchers

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Q: I plan on seeing tonight's lunar eclipse. At what time should I start watching and how can I make sure I don't miss it?

SafariStars-Post.jpgA: As we noted in an earlier post this after afternoon -- an Atlantic Technology Channel Public Service Announcement -- there will be a full lunar eclipse tonight. NASA has predicted that the best moment for viewing the eclipse, which will turn the moon into a glowing ball of red, is at 3:17 a.m.

Because you won't want to miss this event, though, the makers behind SkySafari, an iPhone application that alerts users to upcoming celestial events, have made their product free to download through tomorrow, December 21.

The app "correctly predicts when the eclipse will happen and displays it, along with additonal information," according to Elinor Mills at CNET. It runs on iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad and will outlast this once-in-a-lifetime event (the next one won't happen again until 2094); it offers astronomy maps and uses Apple's internal compass to tell you what constellations and planets you are looking at if you point your device at the sky.

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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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