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Celebrate International Astronomy Day by Exploring the Universe on Your iPhone

Astronomy iPhone Applications Let Your Imagination Fly From Earth to Planets and Moons With the Flick of a Finger (May 01, 2009)

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 05/01/09 -- To celebrate International Astronomy Day on May 2nd, iPhone users can download the leading astronomy applications -- Distant Suns and Grand Tour -- for discounted prices of $3.99 and $2.99 respectively from May 1st through May 3rd.

Four hundred years ago, a scientist in Padua, Italy, took a child's toy and pointed it towards the heavens; what he discovered would give birth to modern science. The toy was a telescope and the scientist was Galileo. Now, exactly four centuries later, people around the world -- from professional astronomers to the more casual sky watcher -- prepare for International Astronomy Day this Saturday.

Grand Tour, launched only this month, uses the high-speed graphics in the iPhone and iPod Touch to simulate a flight across the solar system. Updated every second, the positions of the planets are accurate to the current date and time and are constantly changing, so no two views are alike. Furthermore, the Earth's weather patterns are updated once every three hours, enhancing the realism and showing what our planet would look like from the vantage point of your own personal weather satellite.

Distant Suns on the other hand goes deeper into the universe, depicting not only the solar system, but also the evening's sky from anywhere on earth -- essentially it's a planetarium in your hand. With little more than a flick of a finger users can jump from east to west, from the northern skies to the southern and see what the heavens have in store for the day.

"The ability to take one's iPhone, aim it at the sky and identify that that bright yellow 'star' in the south is actually Saturn, and then 'fly' out to Saturn to look back at the earth would have been considered lunacy even a few years ago," explained the developer of the applications, Mike Smithwick.

"If only Galileo had had an iPhone, he probably wouldn't have needed his telescope."

For further information about National Astronomy Day please go to:

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