Spacebook: Galaxies, Nebulas and Stars Galore

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It was sometime during the Super Bowl, when there were more people discussing the merits of Battlestar Galatica and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine than watching the game, when I realized my friends are nerds (myself included). And this made me smile.

While we all enjoy a good football game, we also have an uncanny ability to spend hours discussing space adventures, alien planets, and the undeniable acting chops of Edward James Olmos.

But, let’s be honest. Space is cool. The human race has long been fascinated with the stars. And space travel has only solidified our desire to venture beyond our own solar system. While many of us will never work for NASA, or be able to afford a flight on the Virgin Galactic, we can still enjoy the beauty of space through a mesmerizing new app called Spacebook.

Released last month for iPhone and iPad, Spacebook is a collection of more than 5,000 high-resolution astronomy images. For $2.99, you can drool over as many nebulas, moonrises and galaxies as your nerdy heart desires.

“The beauty of outer space is staggering, but it can also serve as a reminder that we can and should push the limits of human knowledge,” said creator Nicholas Hughes in an article in GOOD. “NASA’s budget is ridiculously small. I decided to build some kind of space app, maybe something that could both raise awareness and eventually donations.”

I’ve had the app less than a day, and I’m already hooked. The images are stunning, and the accompanying captions are fascinating. For instance, the Trifid Nebula is 300,000 years old, which makes it among the youngest emission nebulae (clouds of ionized gas that emit colorful light) known to man. And, it lies about 9,000 light years away!

There may not be Cylons involved, but so far Spacebook is shaping up to be a worthwhile download.

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