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Sky Guide

App review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
Sky Guide App Poster Image
Explore your night sky and study the history of the stars.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn to identify constellations, stars, and planets, as well as more information about space.

Ease of Play

There's a lot going on, but it's generally easy to navigate.

Violence

There are stories from Greek Mythology which contain some mild violence and weaponry.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

There is an in-app subscription purchase that doesn't require parental permission.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sky Guide is an astronomy augmented reality app packed with additional educational information (via Wikipedia) and articles. Kids can view the mythology pairings/stories to go with constellations, although these can be turned off in the option menu. Some of this content may not be appropriate for very young children due to violent and scary elements. There are also related articles and essays, which are clearly geared toward older kids and adults, although no iffy content was found during the review. There are a lot of features available, and kids may need help navigating if they are looking for something specific. An in-app purchase is available without parental approval, but there's no pressure to buy (the link appears in the settings). Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

SKYGUIDE pairs an GPS-oriented augmented reality view of the stars and constellations with linked Wikipedia information to create a powerful guide to the sky and beyond. At the base level, kids can hold up their device to see the stars on screen, oriented properly for their point of view. In addition to the line drawings for constellations, they also have a more realistic image superimposed so kids can see the inspiration. Kids can click on any object in the sky (star, planet, constellation, space station, etc.) and learn more about it. The articles are interlinked, so kids can delve deeper into something of interest or continue with related topics. Taking things further, kids can change to augmented reality mode and point their device up at the sky. The app will align with the actual image so kids can find out more about that brighter star they've been watching. Kids can choose any date to see what constellations and other heavenly bodies they can observe, or they can do a time lapse of the sky over time. This is a great way to observe the phases of the moon, for example, or go back in time to catch a famous comet. There's an area to see the weather for the day and how it will impact stargazing, while also learning about special things to observe like meteor showers or eclipses. Kids can also see when various space stations will cross overhead. The app defaults to a compass view, but kids can easily scroll around or search for specific stars and planets. For those who can't get enough, there are articles and essays about meteorology and related topics, such as a podcast about space or the discovery of a new galaxy. Set alerts for for astronomical events and satellite passes so you don't miss them. There's an additional subscription offering for superfans. For $19.99/year (with a two-week free trial), users can add the "Supermassive" subscription which includes high definition zooming for certain objects, an expanded star and deep sky catalog, and cinematic tours. 

Is it any good?

If there's any interest in star gazing at your house, this jam-packed app is worth every last penny to help find and identify constellations and individual stars. Sky Guide can help kids learn to identify stars on their own and develop a deeper understanding for space-related phenomena. It's even fun to browse around and examine the constellations or find the closest satellite and imagine (or look for) it zooming overhead. The calendar allows kids to look at a historical event or plan ahead for the next meteor shower. The integration of augmented reality makes perfect sense and enhances the overall experience. Sky Guide is an excellent choice for both adults and kids, but parents should remember that it's geared toward older kids/adults and little ones will likely need help/guidance.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about stars and planets while using Sky Guide. What's the difference between a star and a planet? How do we know what's out there when we can't see it for ourselves just by looking in the sky?

  • Talk about myths. Where did the stories come from? Why have myths been important to a variety of cultures?

  • Families can talk about learning with apps. Do you think this is a good app for learning? Why or why not? What can you learn? 

App details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love outer space and astronomy

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