Get ready for July’s Great Northern Lights with this new app

Forget the eclipse. To star gazers, firework show to track most of them.

If you’ve logged too many hours scrolling through Facebook (or Twitter, or Instagram or…?) in the last few days, you may have heard stories of exploding stars called auroras that can cast light-emitting rings, or constellations, across our planet’s atmosphere.

But maybe you haven’t quite heard about north lights, the result of magnetic activity at the Earth’s poles, responsible for an earthquake that turned northern France into a giant icicle.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Digital Observatory is stepping in to take some of that talk down a notch with the launch of a free UAF Observatory Night Sky Watch app, which will stream the July 27-29 Great Northern Lights show live from their observatory in Palmer, Alaska.

The video app and web site was created by a group of “curators” and is meant to give users instant, real-time information about northern lights. And the guide, “Summer: An Entertaining Time to Be Outdoors,” is meant to pair shots of the celestial extravaganza with six outdoor adventures–such as stargazing–that fit in the app’s 150-mile radius.

Of course, your computer’s web browser isn’t going to deliver these views. But if you do your homework, and if you’ve got a little time, you might find yourself looking up for an interesting celestial show.

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