marsWith the Mars rover Curiosity having successfully landed on the surface of the red planet, it's the perfect time to explore the wonders of the universe with your children. The new Cosmos Story app offers 25-minute audio and visual tours, based on your exact location.

What is the Cosmos Story app?

Cosmos Story, the first audio and visual guided journey through the universe, is now available for iPad and iPhone. Co-created by an astrophysicist and a communications expert, the app intertwines astronomy with relational facts, transforming your iPad and iPhone into an educational gateway through the sky. Designed in France, Cosmos Story has already been recognized as the second most downloaded app in that country.

More than an astronomy app, Cosmos Story combines details describing time and space with tangible ideas we can all relate to, deepening our cosmic comprehension. Cosmos Story sets the mood with ethereal music that accompanies each tour. While the audio tracks are being played, observers can either set their device down and gaze into the sky, or use their iPhone or iPad as a tool to visualize the stars that surround them.

cosmos storyWhat does the app do?

Cosmos Story reproduces the position of stars in real time, providing observers with a clear vision of the night sky. City dwellers will finally enjoy an unobstructed view of the stars, while people choosing to follow their tour indoors can have an equally as accurate picture of what lays above and beyond their living space, thanks to the images that appear on the iPhone or iPad. Moving the iPhone or iPad towards the ground offers an added feature—viewers can see the stars they would in the antipode, at the opposite end of the earth.

Each chapter of this journey takes observers deeper into space, on an enlightening adventure. Each landmark includes a number of facts for detail-oriented observers seeking an in-depth experience. Every track closes with an easy to identify celestial body, visible to the naked eye, that users pinpoint using their iPhone or iPad.

Who's using the app?

From groups of students getting together, to parents spending some quality time with their children, people are using Cosmos Story to discover and understand the universe we share. After each 25-minute guided tour, observers can record notes to share their discoveries with others.

Ready to start your journey?

The complete Cosmos Story app can be downloaded for $1.99. Cosmos Story includes a light free version, sponsored by advertisers and dedicated only to the summer sky. Cosmos Story does not require an Internet connection—once the app is downloaded, all information is available on the iPhone or iPad.

Watch the demo or download the app here. If you don't have an iPad or iPhone, don't fret; here's a list of New Jersey planetariums and observatories where you and your family can stargaze.

Cosmos Story was co-created by Elena Bou, communications expert and Slim Hamdani, astrophysicist. Together, they won the French national competition Médiaverde for quality in innovating technologies. Based in the Saint-Michel Observatory, where the first exoplanet was discovered, the duo has already launched several French apps including Nuit des Etoiles Tome 1 and Tome 2, and Des Etoiles Plein les Yeux. Cosmos Story credits include NASA, JPL, NOAO, AURA, NSF, WIYN, ESA, ESO Space Science Institut, USGS, University of Arizona Bill Schoening, Vanessa Harvey, REU program S. Beckwith, The Hubble Heritage Team S. Kafka and K. Honeycutt, Indiana University.