On Sunday, May 20th, 2012, the first annular solar eclipse in the United States since 1994 will take place. To celebrate this spectacular celestial event and help millions of people follow it across the world, Southern Stars has released a major update to its SkySafari apps for iOS, Mac OS X, and Android.

SkySafari 3.5 is the only iOS astronomy app that correctly displays both solar and lunar eclipses from any place on Earth, according to Southern Stars founder Tim DeBenedictis. Now, the Plus and Pro versions of SkySafari 3.5 add a new twist, he adds.

“You can now leave the surface of planet Earth, and view eclipses and other celestial events from any place in the solar system,” Tim DeBenedictis says.

With this new ability to fly into orbit around other objects in the Solar System, SkySafari Plus and Pro give you a unique perspective on events like this Sunday’s solar eclipse, he adds. By watching an eclipse from the Moon, for instance, you can visually see where the Moon’s shadow will pass across the Earth, and make your travel plans accordingly.

SkySafari’s new orbit feature isn’t just limited to solar eclipses — and it isn’t just limited to iOS. The new 1.5 versions of SkySafari for Mac OS X and Android bring the same new features to those platforms. In addition to orbiting the planets, the new Plus and Pro updates also bring high-resolution maps of the moons and planets – with every named crater, mountain, canyon, and spacecraft landing site labelled. The new Moon map in SkySafari Pro 3.5/1.5 is based on 2009 imagery from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, and has 8x the resolution of any previous SkySafari version.

The new SkySafari 3.5 updates (for iOS) and 1.5 updates (for Mac OS X and Android) are free for current owners of SkySafari on their respective platforms. Southern Stars will offer sale pricing on all of its apps from May 19-21. During the sale, the basic versions of SkySafari (normally $2.99) will be free. The Plus and Pro versions, which add the ability to orbit the planets, will be priced at 30% to 50% off the regular price. For more info go to http://www.southernstars.com/index.html .