You can help Astronomers Without Borders

By Phil Plait | December 5, 2011 4:56 pm

Astronomers Without Borders is a good group of folks. They’re a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing people together from around the world through a common interest in astronomy. Sounds pretty good to me. Their mission is to inspire people through astronomy… another idea I can’t argue with.

In fact, they put their money where their mouths are. They participate in several projects to spread the word about astronomy, including Sharing Telescopes and Resources — to get unused telescopes and other materials to places that need them, including developing countries — and The World At Night, promoting photos and time lapse videos of the Earth’s landmarks against the night sky.

I support their efforts. To raise money, they’ve partnered with Southern Stars, the makers of Sky Safari 3, an astronomy app for the iPhone and iPad. I use Sky Safari myself and it’s pretty slick; it really helps you figure out what’s up in the sky. The good news is, the app is on sale for 60% off from now until December 8, and 40% of all proceeds will be donated to Astronomers Without Borders. You can download it at the Apple Store. There are three versions, Basic ($0.99), Plus ($11.99), and Pro ($29.99), so you can pick what level you like. I’ll note it would make a good early holiday gift for the astrogeek in your life (assuming that’s not you).

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know how important it is to me to get people looking up, to have them appreciate the nature and wonder of the Universe. Astronomers Without Borders shares this feeling, and goes out and does something about it. If you can, lend ’em a hand.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Cool stuff

Comments (15)

  1. Mike Saunders

    Just wondering, Android has a much larger market share (and I have one), so is there a similar app for Android?

  2. Cindy


    Sundroid Pro Sunrise Sunset does the planets. I haven’t had a chance to play around with Google Sky enough to see if it can show rise & set times of objects.

  3. QuietDesperation

    OK. Bought the 99 cent version to give it a try.

  4. Monkey

    I will write up a little blurb for my astronomy club newsletter….I was searching for something to write about this month and this fits nicely.

  5. Brad F

    Fantastic app, Space Junk is a similiar free app, but doesn’t give you any of the information about the Planets, Stars, Constellations nor is it as feature rich. If you read this blog on a semi regular basis it’s right up your ally. Well worth the 99 cents.

  6. Messier Tidy Upper

    You need a mobile phone for this right? I’m one of the few folk in the Western world who doesn’t have one – at least not a working one – right now. I’m also, sadly, pretty.. umm.. financially embarrassed currently.

    I’ve forwarded this on though and hope that helps. Good idea – best wishes for them. :-)

  7. Steve

    Google Sky Maps (for Android) does the trick for me.

  8. Steve P.

    Messier Tidy Upper:

    I don’t a smart phone, but I do have an ipod touch. No contract, and as I rarely leave the house and almost always have WIFI, little downside for me.

  9. QuietDesperation

    You need a mobile phone for this right?

    Put it on my iPad. Switching on the gyro and compass lets you hold it up to the sky and it tracks to that part of the map. Lots of nice tweaks, like how bright you want the constellation lines. Little details like that matter. Has a night vision mode that makes it all red on black.

    I’m one of the few folk in the Western world who doesn’t have one

    Don’t feel bad. I have a 10 year old Motorola cell phone with a simple B&W LCD text screen. It was built to the MIL-SPEC for cell phones. It’s fallen down two flights of stairs, been sat upon numerous times, and once got run over by a MINI. Still works. Smartphones are the one area of gadgetry that hasn’t pulled me in. The iPad was a one time expense, and it lives at home with my wi-fi, and is used extensively every day. I’ve yet to see a smart phone package where I’d use even 5% of the least expensive one, so it’s just not worth it.

  10. gee! Thank you so much for your support, Dr. Plait!!!

    One People * One Sky!

  11. Thanks a lot Phil! Julio Vannini and I are involved in our respective country for Astronomers Without Borders, and we really appreciate your support! :-)

    One People * One Sky!

  12. Ken

    I picked up their programs for the ipod touch when it was being given away during the Apollo 11 anniversary. I’ve since bought the expansion packs they offer (though I ended up not using them, my itouch 2g just can’t handle the load). It’s the only program I’ve come across so far on any portable that *truly* matches what I see through the eyepiece. It makes finding stuff downright trivial. A setting to swap axes is crucial for an observing n00b like me, and intensity and other settings let me tweak it to match what I see.

    I probably will buy one of the new versions during this deal, but I *dearly* wish they would come out with an Android version. $30 is a fraction of what I’d be willing to pay. It would directly cause me to buy a Samsung tablet (no way am I buying more Apple hardware).

    [Update: I just visited their website and turns out they *are* coming out with an Android version! Woo hoo!]

    [$12 plunked for a version for my itouch. These guys deserve support.]


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