Twitter For The Cosmos Gives Real-Time Updates From Global Observatories

Twitter For The Cosmos Gives Real-Time Updates From Global Observatories

The SkyWatch app lets amateur star gazers can hone in on celestial events as they happen.

Marnie Kunz
  • 29 may 2014

Scientists are helping everyday people connect with the cosmos using the new SkyWatch app, which offers a constantly updated visual representation of data collected from observatories around the world. The Twitter-like app, created at Space Apps Toronto, allows amateurs to follow celestial events as they occur, with a map of the cosmos. Long cloaked in scientific terms and NASA databases, the events in the universe are now accessible to people all over the world.

SkyWatch maps out events in the universe like supernovas and comets using Google Maps and Google Sky Map. By collecting ongoing data from NASA scientists and observatories all over the world, SkyWatch allows everyday people to follow events going on in space in near-real time. NASA’s Gamma-ray Coordinates Network provides raw telemetric data collected from around the world, and SkyWatch translates this data into digestible, user-friendly information anyone can follow.

SkyWatch shows telescope coordinates of cosmic events and uses an algorithm to translate and highlight important celestial happenings. With the constantly updated feeds, SkyWatch users can track events such as supernovas happening light years away.


SkyWatch allows people all over the world to access data on the universe that only scientists have had access to up until now. The interactive map makes celestial events more accessible to people than ever before, translating events into lay person’s terms and picking out the most important events happening at any given moment in the cosmos. Users can see photos, sources and astronomical coordinates of events. Each cosmic event is illustrated by a card that highlights the most important features of the event.

SkyWatch’s Twitter-like platform is social media-friendly, and followers can tweet events to family and friends. The app also allows users to personalize their experience by filtering and subscribing to events that interest them most.

A Toronto-based team including Dexter Jagula, Ryan Ovas, Roland Sing, Stefan Sing and James Slifierz came up with SkyWatch during NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge. The team is currently working on a mobile app. NASA honored the SkyWatch team with the Best Use of Data award in this year’s International Space Apps Challenge.


[h/t] Daily Mail, Motherboard


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