Despite getting a D in Astronomy while in college and having a telescope I had to have but never use, I’ve found all I really need to be a dad-stronomer is simple: kid(s) and a free app.
The app is SkyView Free.
It allows you point your phone’s camera skyward and view the entire night sky. There’s also a horizon line, in case you can’t figure out that you’re pointing your phone at the ground.
Then all you’ve got to do is hover over an object to view the name. And when you click on said object, the app reveals a slew of facts about it. Pretty simple. And informative.
SkyView’s display also allows you to see the constellation art, constellation lines, trajectories, and satellites that may be out there as well. But you can always turn any and all of these options off.
You also able to take a photo (basically a screenshot) in-app to help remember what you’ve viewed.
If it’s a cloudy night and we can’t stargaze, you’re still able to locate whatever you want in outer space, even if you point the phone at the ground (in which case it’ll show you the stars/planets/constellations/galaxies visible on the other side of Earth). But we’re not really a fan of pretend stargazing.
Both Nolan and Graham (who loves finding the moon every night from the back deck) seem pretty intrigued by it and I’m thinking of putting together a few factoids every day about whichever star we decided to learn about.