Star Watching, Dashboard Style

I enjoy watching the night sky, but I donit always feel like turning to a full fledged astronomy application like Starry Night Pro just to make sure the stars I am looking at are really the ones that I think they are. It seems the fancy coders at Imaginova agree, which is why they came out with the free Starry Night widget.

Check out the night sky with the Starry Night widget.

This handy little widget shows the current sky for any location - just supply the Zip code or latitude and longitude. The widget checks the online Starry Night celestial objects database, and shows what you can expect to see when you look up.

It also lets you choose what objects to show, what direction to look, and auto-updates every few minutes to keep your view current. Better still, it doesnit require any special knowledge about astronomy to use - just launch the widget and set your location. Starry Night widget handles the rest.

The downside is that it does require an Internet connection to determine which celestial objects are visible, so donit plan on using this widget anyplace where you canit get online.

Celestia: Still free, but far more versatile.

If you are looking for a free alternative that you can use away from the Internet, check out Celestia. Celestia is a complete astronomy and planetarium application, and does some time to master. It may be more complex than the Starry Night widget, but comes with a matching price tag: free.

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