Miss a Sky Event? There’s an App for That

Sky & Telescope has released its new SkyWeek Plus app, which combines all the good stuff of our regular SkyWeek app with new reminder and breaking-sky-news features.

SkyWeek Plus combines our regular SkyWeek app's functions with new calendar reminder features (the CAL button) and push notifications from our editors when unexpected things happen, such as the discovery of a new bright comet.
I’m what my mother calls a “space cadet”: I remember diddly-squat. Whatever it is — a birthday party, a bill to pay, new black hole research to blog about — if I don’t write it down, I space. It’s not intentional, I swear. I just forget everything.

If you, too, survive via calendars and to-do lists, then our new SkyWeek Plus app is for you. It takes the great features of our regular SkyWeek app — the daily what’s-in-the-sky info with sky chart, weekly planet roundup, and night-vision feature to protect your keen eyesight — and adds two new cool features. Each entry now has a “CAL” button, which allows you to add reminders for sky events to your calendar with a couple of fingerswipes. (Or if you’re really ambitious, you can add all events at once.) You’ll also receive alerts from Sky & Telescope’s editors when newsworthy events hit the wires. If we hear about a bright nova like the one that erupted in Sagittarius this summer, or the possibility of low-latitude auroras, we’ll send you a push notification telling you where and when to look. We promise not to pester you too often: only when we think it’s worth your time.

A couple of disclaimers: SkyWeek Plus is available for iPhones and iPads but not for non-Apple devices. Our regular SkyWeek app does work on non-Apple devices, though, so if you have an Android don’t throw up your hands in despair. (But feel free to grumble a little if you’re so inclined. Hey, we do it all the time.)

Also, SkyWeek and SkyWeek Plus’s text descriptions are for the world’s mid-northern latitudes, so if you’re observing from the Southern Hemisphere the current apps probably won’t be that useful to you.

You can download SkyWeek Plus from the Apple store. You can also download the classic SkyWeek app.

11 thoughts on “Miss a Sky Event? There’s an App for That

  1. michal

    So, is there the possibility of a calendar subscription for iCal that will place events on my desktop calendar? I’ve had to do so manually but a service that automatically updates would be a tremendous help!

  2. Kevin

    Grumble, grumble, grumble…. Want Android App

    O’ooo… how about a calendar for Google Calendar that I can link my google calendar to?

    Kevin, father of five boys and we live in the mostly dark Florida rural panhandle and have 15 acres away from big cities. Nothing like stargazing on your backs in a hayfield.

  3. dusanmal

    For quite a while now Android is dominant (more than 50% share) mobile platform. There should be no excuse for not having this app for Android as well just on that fact. There are many other contributing reasons (Open Source accessible to a wide educational and scientific market without Apple oversight/control, ease of distribution with many Android App Stores and ability to deliver app directly from your site bypassing all of them, wide developer community who can help you make it, …) too. Please keep up with the times.

  4. JD

    I agree with the comments posted. Why wouldn’t you make this for the Android market as well? That is ridiculous, especially when the Android market is HUGE! Seriously, please make one for Android. This is not right.

  5. Anthony BarreiroAnthony Barreiro

    Are the alerts from this app different from the existing email astro alerts? Thanks.

    As for the calendar function, I’m an analog dinosaur. I write things down in my paper calendar. It still works for me: the battery never dies, and there are no operating system compatibility problems.

  6. Bob G

    I know you don’t have infinite resources but leaving out Android users is not a good idea. A platform-neutral mobile website plus a text or email alert system might be able to incorporate some of that the iOS app can do but a native Android app would be better.

  7. Monica YoungMonica Young

    @Anthony: The alerts on the iPhone are slightly different from the Astro Alerts sent out via email. The Astro Alerts request observations from serious amateur astronomers when an event occurs. The most recent one that I can remember is the recent Pluto occultation. By observing Pluto during the occultation, astronomers were hoping to get a better measurement of its size. The iPhone alerts are simply to alert you to important, unexpected events in the night sky. For example, an aurora alert might be sent to the iPhone but not as an Astro Alert email.

  8. Monica YoungMonica Young

    To all who suggest that we develop this app for Droids, we appreciate your comments. However, when the original SkyWeek app was developed for both Droid and Apple, the downloads from Droids were negligible — even though the app is always free on Droid, and not on Apple! Given that developing for both platforms is twice as expensive, we decided to develop for the platform where the vast majority of our downloads were coming from, and that platform is Apple.

  9. Albert Wellman

    Perhaps the downloads for Droids were "negligible" at one time, but I think you need to reexamine the popularity and use of Android devices again. BTW, not all Android apps are free – If making money off your app is an issue, you can sell it to recoup any development costs. Not all backyard astronomers are MAC people!

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