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Hubble Space Telescope? There’s An App For That

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BALTIMORE (WJZ/AP) — Two million times a month, people use the Internet to search through the incredible images at the Hubble Space Telescope. 

As Mike Schuh reports, the programmers in Baltimore have turned scientific beauty into a game for iPhones.

While the images are breathtaking, most people see them on the Web.  Now, those who run the telescope, directed one of their web programmers to turn the images into a game.

A new app lets Hubble Space Telescope fans vote for their favorite images collected by the orbiting observatory.

“It’s basically a concept where you pick one versus the other one. I like this one better so I pick, then it gives you two more random ones,” said Scott Davis, Hubble software developer.

Thirty pictures come up at a time.  They’ve received three million votes since the app was released.

“People come to the website and we know some they like, but they don’t get to vote.  Here they get to vote: what does the public think is the most beautiful Hubble image,” said Frank Summers, astronomer.

Some images are familiar and some you may have never seen before. It’s an app that Apple featured for a week and a half on the front page of its site.

“The comments we get about the app are fantastic. People love it to death,” said Davis.

The app also has Hubble facts, wallpaper for your computer and details on the Hubble’s scientific discoveries. The Baltimore-based Space Telescope Science Institute developed the app for the iPhone and iPod Touch and released it earlier this year. The institute coordinates use of the orbiting observatory, which turned 21 this past weekend.

“I don’t think the game will ever end. I know what [they] like now, but two years from now we might come out with a new image,” said Summers.

So far this application is only written for Apple mobile devices. You can download it from iTunes. 

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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