An observatory in Chile has scored an unlikely hit with its Smartphone app Chile Mobile Observatory, which has now been downloaded more than 25,000 times.
It gives users around-the-world access to images of the sky, taken by telescopes at state-of-the-art facilities in northern Chile.
Images have been downloaded by people in Chile, Mexico, the US and Peru.
Sebastian Villela, web manager at Fundacion Imagen de Chile, is proud: “Today, Chile accounts for 70 percent of astronomical observation in the world and for us this improves the country’s image.
“From Chile we are capturing the best images of the universe, from Chile we are answering the fundamental questions of humanity: where do we come from and what is our destination within this giant universe?”
The detailed colour pictures are produced from three images obtained with highly-advanced telescopes.
Sebastian Villela said: “Each of the astronomical centres involved in the project, publishes their own images on their websites. What this application does is to take this information which is scattered, put it together in one application and you can carry it on your mobile device so that you can view it on your phone, on your tablet.”
The popularity of the app surprised researchers, but they are so pleased they have decided to add another 100 images to the downloads available, later this year, and to make a version available for iPhones.
The app also includes an astronomical calendar with dates for eclipses, meteor showers, comets and other phenomena.