If you feel like you don’t spend enough time stargazing and don’t have the time to actually stargaze, you should check out “NASA’s Eyes” an application created by the space-focused organisation to allow anyone to explore our galaxy and tap into the knowledge we’ve gathered so far thanks to missions including Kepler, Hubble and Spitzer.
Despite the enormous size of the Milky Way, the Windows installer is a measly 28MB and includes self-updating capabilities so it’ll always have the most recent discoveries. You can view planets and star systems based on the missions that discovered them and zoom in on individual items of interest.
Once you do select something specific, you have a few options at your disposal. You can see how long it would take to reach that particular object by car, bullet train, aeroplane or light speed (for those of you who are warp-capable).
There’s a “demo” mode, which will start up if you leave the program long enough, where it’ll jump between Earth, the various satellites and telescopes currently in operation and the Kepler stars, the most well-known of the exoplanet-bearing systems (including Kepler-62, which features planets within the star’s habitable zone).
One annoying aspect of the program is that you have to listen to the introduction every time you fire it up. It only runs for 20 or so seconds, but a setting to turn it off would be nice.
It’s pretty straightforward to use, but video tutorials are available on the NASA website, if you get a bit lost.