Redshift - Astronomy

App review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
Redshift - Astronomy App Poster Image
Incredible amount of information in stargazer's dream tool.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn virtually anything they want to know about space through self-guided exploration. They'll feel empowered to learn at their own pace, and they're likely to be intrigued by the ability to view a virtual image of the sky before them. But the app misses a great opportunity to deepen the learning experience through guided instruction and assessment. Nonetheless, Redshift is a fantastic tool that will spark interest in astronomy in kids of all ages.

Ease of Play

The app basically throws you into the deep end, which can be a bit intimidating, especially if you're looking for something specific.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Redshift - Astronomy is an educational app exploring celestial objects. With a staggering amount of information, this is a program that will almost certainly be able to answer any question children or adults have about the night sky. Included are over 100,000 stars, 30 famous asteroids, 10 famous comets that circle Earth, along with all the planets (major and minor). The app uses geotracking to show you the stars and planets above your head at any given time to aid stargazers as they scan the night sky (or plan for the best night to do so).

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What's it about?

REDSHIFT - ASTRONOMY includes detailed information about all celestial objects, including name, type, luminosity, size, and rise and set times. Kids can choose their home location using a GPS automatic search or by manually entering the location on Earth's globe. This allows kids to use the Follow Sky feature, which shows a current view of the sky to help identify constellations and planets.

Is it any good?

Astronomy isn't a scientific path for weaklings, but with Redshift - Astronomy by your side, you'll be better armed to explore the mysteries of the cosmos. With an incredibly deep catalog of heavenly bodies and more data about each than you know what to do with, this app is an exciting, interactive way to learn about the universe. Rather than just being a data dump, it's also an interactive tool, showing you what's above you in the night sky and helping you identify constellations and planets. Kids who want to learn more about planets and stars can use the app's "travel" mode to "fly" to a location and orbit the planet or star. It's a bit pricey, but it's a perfect companion for stargazers -- and an embarrassment of riches for students looking to learn more on their own or for a tricky homework assignment.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about different ways to use the app. For example, have kids point their device toward the sky and discuss any stars or planets that appear. Ask kids to sketch what the sky might look like at night, and them have them do nighttime observations to try to identify what they saw during the day. 

  • You could also use the app as a resource for taking notes about the planets or other celestial bodies. For example, have kids use the Observatory or the 3-D Flight feature to visit all of the planets and make a chart showing each planet's distance from Earth or each planet's magnitude. 

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
  • Subjects: Science: astronomy
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: investigation, memorization
  • Price: $10.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Release date: January 23, 2014
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 145.00 MB
  • Publisher: USM
  • Version: 1.9
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 4.3 or later

For kids who love science

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