Star Chart

Common Sense Media says

A great way to explore the skies -- just point your phone.

Age(i)

2
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8
9
10
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17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

Point your Android skyward and the app tells you what you're looking at. Just make sure your GPS is enabled.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Minor privacy concerns: The app does track you location so that it can show you star maps based on where you are.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that through GPS technology, this virtual Star Chart identifies for you exactly what you can find in the sky on any given day or night. All you have to do is point your Android device to an area of the sky and watch the app calibrate. For example, is that really the Big Dipper that you're looking at? Point the phone up to that area of the sky and see if the app confirms your guess. Point it down and you'll find out what people on the other side of the globe are seeing at the same moment. A revolutionary way to stargaze and learn about our galaxy.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • astronomy

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • prediction

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Beautiful star map will be a hit with students. Augmented reality makes nighttime stargazing an interactive experience and daytime "armchair" astronomy come to life. Star lovers will take quickly to the map, but other kids may need support.

Learning Approach

It's great for what it is -- an interactive map of the cosmos -- but Star Chart doesn't have much in the way of integrated learning. It could add depth or be a helpful supplement to a unit on astronomy, though.

Support

A help page within the app offers technical support, but there's no "how to" or other help menu option. Still, the experience is largely intuitive for tech-savvy kids, and the touch interface is pretty easy to use.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • astronomy

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • prediction

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology

Kids can learn the names and locations of stars, moons, and planets, at the simple point of their mobile device. If kids want to know what the sky looked like 10,000 years ago, or what it will look like 10,000 years in the future, Star Chart can show them that, too. For more information about any given object, kids can just tap, and more facts and figures, such as the object's distance from Earth, appear. Star Chart brings outer space close to home as much as any telescope. 

This Learning Rating review was written by Dana Villamagna

Parents say

Kids say

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What's it about?

STAR CHART turns anyone into an amateur astronomer. When kids point their Android device to the sky, the app accurately shows all visible stars and planets in the skies above the northern and southern hemispheres, as well as the 88 constellations and "exotic deep sky objects." Kids can then tap to learn more about the objects they're viewing. As long as your mobile device's GPS is enabled, kids can explore the heavens, day or night, above or below the horizon -- and learn a lot in the process.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Who needs a telescope? The sky's unlimited for STAR CHART, the pocket-size answer for the young and old astronomers of the world. This is of the best-selling smartphone astronomy apps for good reasons. There's so much to explore here, including the names and beautiful illustrations of constellations laid over the actual images of stars, plants, and other "exotic deep sky objects." This app creates a beautiful image of the sky and helps even young children get a better idea of what's going on up there. Worth every penny.

Families can talk about...

  • How many constellations can you and your kid name without using the app? Go outside on a starry night, name them, and have your kid use the app to check your answer.

  • Once you and your kid identify some constellations, dig into the mythology behind their names for a fun ancient history lesson.

App details

Device:Android
Price:$3.30
Pricing structure:Paid
Release date:March 24, 2011
Category:Educational Games
Size:8.30 MB
Publisher:Escapist Games Limited
Version:1.88
Minimum software requirements:Android 2.1 and up

This review of Star Chart was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 9 and 12 year old Written byCalderona May 10, 2011

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