Sky View Cafe

Website review by
Jean Armour Polly, Common Sense Media
Sky View Cafe Website Poster Image
What can you spot in the sky tonight?

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this site is free, there are no ads -- what's not to like? Well, it may not work exactly as expected, so try it before you launch it on your kids. The current beta version may not be supported by your browser, but don't worry. The site offers older versions of itself, and there's even an offline edition offered.

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What's it about?

This site allows you to plug in time, location, and other selections to "see" what's up, even during the daylight hours. Don't happen to know your latitude or longitude? It just takes a minute to click on "Search" and type in the name of your city. You can also click on a world map if that's easier to do. See where it's dark now. Know when the next lunar eclipse will be, plan some constellation spotting on the next clear night, or just view some NASA photos of deep-sky objects.

Is it any good?

Curious stargazers can get the answers to a plethora of questions with this online astronomy treasure chest.

It's all a little confusing at first, so check the Sample Views area to get the idea. Then read the help files to fine-tune your Sky View Café skills. One trick is to click on a clock digit representing the month, then click and hold on either the time forward or backward button. Under the "Orbits" tab view, you'll see the planets in motion!

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the various phenomena and features of the night sky. Was the moon full when you were born? What constellations and planets will be visible over your house tonight? How different are the stars in another part of the world, or in another part of time?

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