Watch the Stars

You are outside looking up at the stars, and you start to wonder what constellations you can see. Your Palm can help you identify the stars.

Your Palm has a couple of advantages over a traditional paper star guide. You are likely to have your Palm with you all the time. You probably won’t have a star guide with you unless you are planning to observe the sky. A Palm device has a backlight, which makes it easier to see the constellations on the screen and read any associated text. Finally, a Palm device can help you manually aim your telescope or even aim it for you with the right accessories.


Because white light can cause you to lose your night vision, you should affix a red film over your Palm screen to filter out the troublesome wavelengths. For more information, see Astronomy Hacks (O’Reilly, 2005). Some of the astronomy programs have a night mode that converts all of the white text and graphics to red.

There are several astronomy programs available.

Astro Info

Astro Info (, seen in Figure 2-12, is an open-source astronomy program. It displays information and a small picture for each of the planets and the moon. It also comes with several star catalogs that you can use to view different stars and galaxies. There is also a night mode, which changes to red text on a black background. Night mode only works on 256 color Palms, though. It doesn’t work on recent Palms with 64K colors.

Figure 2-12. Astro Info screenshot showing Jupiter’s ...

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