Love Venus More With These Mobile Astronomy Apps
A bigger and brighter Venus will light up the sky beginning this month and stargazers could use these mobile astronomy apps for a more enjoyable experience.
Space.com has listed iOS and Android apps, SkySafari 5 and The Solar Walk, to help astronomy fans get more information about Venus as it becomes a brighter western night sky spectacle this season. Also called as the "Morning Star" and "Evening Star," Venus is known to be the most visible planet to the naked eye especially before sunrise and just right after the Sun sets.
Venus is considered as Earth's sister planet, with a radius just 5 percent smaller and size 18 percent smaller than Earth. It is the closest planet to us, with a distance of 162 million miles (261 million kilometers) at its farthest, and it would only take about four months for a spacecraft from Earth to reach it.
One major difference between these two sister planets is the degree of their axial tilts. While the Earth's axial tilt of 23.44 degrees explains why seasons come and go, Venus' axis is tilted as far as 177 degrees to the point of its north pole almost reaching the south. People could find this axial difference by using the SkySafari 5 app.
SkySafari 5 also features a high-resolution Venus globe showcasing its unique features. Some of these displayed features -- which are named after female deities, mythological heroines and other famous women just like the Roman goddess of love that the planet is named after -- will allow users get a closer look of the planet's breathtaking views.
Scientists were also able to recreate 3D models of Venus' surface taken from different probes sent to explore the planet. These 3D models can be seen with the use of The Solar Walk app, which contains a huge collection of images from those probes. The app also includes a cross section through the planet's interior and more information about previous exploration missions such as the Magellan mission, Venera, Pioneer and Venus Express.