Tag Archives: astronomy

Spice Up Your Android Wallpaper With Astronomy Picture of the Day

Once you’ve grown tired of Android’s multitude of live wallpapers, or if (God forbid) you’re still rocking whatever default wallpaper your phone came with, it might be time for a change. Add some science to your day and keep your wallpaper fresh with Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Astronomy Picture of the Day scrapes the NASA webpage of the same name and makes it easy to set the current day’s picture as your wallpaper.

As you would expect from an application used to set your wallpaper, Astronomy Picture of the Day is simple to use. From the main page you can see the current day’s picture, or scroll through a list of previous days’ pictures. Once you find the picture that catches your fancy, just click on it, hit the Menu key, and click Auto Set Wallpaper (note that there are a few other options in this menu as well).

On the picture’s page you can also click the little ‘i’ button in the upper right hand corner to learn more about that picture.

Astronomy Picture of the Day’s coolest feature is its ability to auto-update your wallpaper every day. From the main page hit Menu, then Preferences. Here you can set the time of day that the application should update, as well as set a few other options.

Astronomy Picture of the Day can be downloaded from the Android Market here or by scanning the QR code below. If you really enjoy the application consider donating to the developer, which also removes advertisements from the main application.

Perseids Meteor Shower Peaks Soon, Find the Best Time to Watch Where You Live

Depending on where you live, the Perseids meteor shower will be reaching its peak sometime during the night of August 12th and the morning of August 13th.  Since many factors can impact the visibility of astronomical events like meteor showers, NASA provides a great Java applet called the Fluxtimator that can show you the best time to go stargazing.

To use the Fluxtimator, select the meteor shower you would like to observe (tonight’s being “#7 Perseids”), select your location, and then select your viewing conditions.  Specifying your viewing conditions will help fine tune the ideal time to view the event.

Once you’ve entered the information, you’ll see a chart displaying the optimal times to view the shower.  In my part of the world, best viewing conditions for the Perseids will occur between 1am and 5am on August 13th.

The Fluxtimator takes into account moonlight (which is supposed to be minimal this year, providing a better view of the shower), but you should stay away from city lights and street lamps for the best possible view.

The Perseids should be visible around the Cassiopeia constellation, and you can check out Sky and Telescope’s great illustration of where to look.  Android users can use the free app Google Sky Map to easily locate the correct area to watch.

Happy stargazing!

Image credit: Tambako