Mars Globe HD
App Review

On April 17, 2012, in Apps, iOS, iPad, iPad 2, iPhone, iPod Touch, Review, by David M. Acklam

Mars Globe HD
App Developer: Midnight Martian
Version 2.2.1
License:US$0.99 (Mars Globe Free) Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone4, iPhone4S, iPod (3rd and 4th generations) and iPad. Requires IOS 3.2 or later.

The Mars Globe HD app is an enjoyable astronomy tool that you can use to learn about the planet Mars and the many space missions that have landed on its surface. The application has been recently updated to run at full resolution on the new iPad.

I’m a volunteer telescope operator at the Flandrau Science Center in Tucson, Arizona. I, along with about a dozen other volunteer telescope operators, take turns several times a month showing the night sky to the public through the Center’s sixteen inch Cassegrain reflector telescope.

The planet Mars has recently passed through opposition to the Sun, which means it is closer to Earth at this time as we orbit the Sun. Rising in the eastern evening sky it appears as a bright, rusty colored star-like object. Observing Mars through the Center’s telescope we can only see some of the subtle coloration details on the surface of this small planet that is roughly half the size of Earth and over seventy-seven million miles away. These subtle variations in color are associated with surface features such as craters, mountains, valleys, and surface materials.

This year is a special year for Mars exploration because we have the Mars Science Laboratory, a rover named Curiosity, en route to the planet and scheduled to land in early August. We can use the Mars Globe HD app to show what those surface details are and even check out where Curiosity is targeted to land.

Moon Globe HD iOS
App Review

On November 25, 2011, in Apps, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Review, by David M. Acklam

Moon Globe HD 
App Developer: Midnight Martian
Version 2.1.1
License: US$0.99 (Moon Globe Free)
Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone4, iPhone 4S, iPod (3rd and 4th generations) iPad 1 and 2. Requires IOS 3.2 or later.

As an amateur astronomer, I volunteer as an astronomy partner with a local elementary school science teacher in a program called Project ASTRO. Recently my teacher partner and I introduced her fifth grade students to the changing phases of the Moon. As part of this exercise, the students are teamed into groups and are given set of randomly arranged photographs of the Moon in its various phases and are asked to arrange them in the sequence they think the phases change. Since this is accomplished in the classroom, without being able to see the Moon, the students have to work as a team to best recall what they each remember about how the Moon changes phases.

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