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See Sunday's Solar Eclipse from Earth or Space with SkySafari 3.5

  (May 18, 2012)

San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) May 18, 2012

On Sunday, May 20th, 2012, the first annular solar eclipse in the United States since 1994 will take place. To celebrate this spectacular celestial event and help millions of people follow it across the world, Southern Stars has released a major update to its SkySafari apps for iOS, Mac OS X, and Android.

WARNING: Do not stare at the Sun without proper eye protection. Never observe the Sun through binoculars or a telescope without a solar filter. Viewing the Sun without proper equipment during a solar eclipse - or at any other time - may cause serious eye injury or even blindness. Fortunately, it is perfectly safe to watch a solar eclipse simulated by SkySafari.

SkySafari 3.5 is the only iOS astronomy app that correctly displays both solar and lunar eclipses from any place on Earth. Now, the Plus and Pro versions of SkySafari 3.5 add a new twist. As described by Southern Stars founder Tim DeBenedictis, "You can now leave the surface of planet Earth to view solar eclipses - and other celestial events - from any place in the solar system."

With this new ability to fly into orbit around other objects in the Solar System, SkySafari Plus and Pro provide a unique perspective on events like this Sunday's solar eclipse. By watching a solar eclipse from the Moon, for instance, it is easy to see where the Moon's shadow will pass across the Earth - and make travel plans accordingly. Southern Stars has created a short QuickTime video which shows how to do this with SkySafari 3.5 Plus on an iPad. The eclipse is shown both from Reno, Nevada, USA - where the Moon's shadow passes directly overhead - and from the Moon itself, looking back on Earth.

Click this link to view the video (QuickTime, 10.7 MB, 1 min 53 sec):

SkySafari's new orbit feature isn't just limited to solar eclipses - and it isn't just limited to iOS. The new 1.5 versions of SkySafari for Mac OS X and Android bring the same new features to those platforms. In addition to orbiting the planets, the new Plus and Pro updates also bring high-resolution maps of the moons and planets - with every named crater, mountain, canyon, and spacecraft landing site labelled. The new Moon map in SkySafari Pro 3.5/1.5 is based on 2009 imagery from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, and has 8x the resolution of any previous SkySafari version.

The new SkySafari 3.5 updates (for iOS) and 1.5 updates (for Mac OS X and Android) are free for current owners of SkySafari on their respective platforms. For new users, this weekend's eclipse is a perfect time to get on board. Southern Stars will offer sale pricing on all of its apps from May 19th through May 21st. During the sale, the basic versions of SkySafari (normally $2.99) will be free. The Plus and Pro versions, which add the ability to orbit the planets, will be priced at 30% to 50% off regular price.

To download SkySafari 3.5 for iOS from the iTunes app store, use the following links; all prices are in US dollars:

SkySafari 3.5 for iOS ($2.99 regularly, FREE May 19 - 21, 49 MB)
SkySafari Plus 3.5 for iOS ($14.99 regularly, $11.99 May 19 - 21, 199 MB):
SkySafari Pro 3.5 for iOS ($39.99 regularly, $29.99 May 19 - 21, 584 MB):

To download SkySafari 1.5 for Mac OS X from the Mac app store, use the following links; all prices are in US dollars. Note that SkySafari Pro 1.5 for Mac OS X is exclusively available from Southern Stars' web site:

SkySafari 1.5 for Mac OS X ($4.99 regularly, FREE May 19 - 21, 133 MB)
SkySafari Plus 1.5 for Mac OS X ($19.99 regularly, $14.99 May 19 - 21, 357 MB)
SkySafari Pro 1.5 for Mac OS X ($49.99 regularly, $39.99 May 19 - 21, 794 MB)

To download SkySafari 1.5 for Android from Google Play, use the following links; all prices are in US dollars:

SkySafari 1.5 for Android ($2.99 regularly, $0.99 May 19 - 21, 49 MB)
SkySafari Plus 1.5 for Android ($14.99 regularly, $11.99 May 19 - 21, 199 MB)
SkySafari Pro 1.5 for Android ($39.99 regularly, $29.99 May 19 - 21, 584 MB)

About Southern Stars Group, LLC

Southern Stars Group, LLC is a world leader in mobile applications for astronomy, and has been developing planetarium software since 1993. In 2009, Southern Stars developed SkyFi, the first wireless iPhone-based solution for telescope control. That product, and the first version of the SkySafari iPhone app, won a MacWorld 2010 Best of Show award. Southern Stars was the also the first company to ship a Made-for-iPad serial cable for iOS devices (SkyWire). To date, Southern Stars' iPhone apps have been downloaded more than 1.5 million times, and have earned five-star reviews on the app store and by independent reviewers.

Headquartered in San Francisco, Southern Stars Group, LLC has more than three decades of collective experience in developing astronomical software, telescope control systems, and instrumentation.

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