Sunday, March 18, 2012

Star Walk

This app has been around for a while, and it's finally making a debut on my website! Star Walk for iOS is the not-so-equal equivalent of Google Sky Map for Android. Star Walk is a beautiful application that helps you identify stars, connect consolations, find planets, track the moon phases, and know when the sun is rising and setting. It's like taking an animated tour through the stars (a "star walk," maybe?). Read my full review for a visual tour and a full walk-through of Star Walk for iPhone and iPad.

App Profile:
Type: Sky map
Platforms: iOS (iPhone and iPad)
Developer: Vito Technology Inc.
Reason for Downloading: You have a healthy fascination with the sky, especially the night sky, and/or you are curious as to what you're looking at when you look up into the night sky.

I said it in the introduction and I'll say it again... this app is beautiful. Not only is the design beautiful, but so is the concept. This is an app that is fun to use and educational. For my wife and I, two people who love to look at the night sky, this app is fascinating.

It works by simply walking outside, opening the app, and holding the phone up to the sky so the back is facing upward. It activates the screen to mirror it's own version of the night sky. If you hold it out and cover a section of the sky, it shows you what constellations, stars, and planets you're looking at. As you move the phone, the screen changes to match the sky behind it. It even goes as far as to show you things you can't see. You can point it at the ground and see what you would be seeing if you were on the other side of the world! By tapping on a star, constellation, planet, or other prominent object, you can mark it's spot to easily come back to it later.

The night sky is also split into the North sky and the South sky by a red line. North, South, East and West are all identified by arrows on the horizon surrounding you. The Milky way is highlighted. There's even icons showing you where the Hubble Telescope, the international space station, and different satellites are.

A great feature is the ability to open up a page that shows the time when visible planets, the moon, and the sun  will rise and set and it's peak elevation (in degrees). Since the app uses your location - with your permission, of course - it is accurate to the city you're in, not just a pre-set location. I tested it a few times and the rise and set times were very accurate.

This app is not just for the casual star-gazer either. If you just getting into more advanced star-gazing (you just acquired a telescope) you can now identify what exactly it is you're looking at. Eventually, you'll be a lot more familiar with the night sky, but in the meantime this app can be your teacher (you know, in case you're the type that doesn't get along with, "people").

As I said in the beginning, my wife and I love the sky. What we're not, however, is the type that is ever going to own a telescope. This being said, we easily justified the $1.99 this app costs because we have enough of a curiosity about what we're looking at that it was worth it even for us. It can be purchased for either the iPad or the iPhone and is available at the same price for both.


  1. You should probably put another reaction on there, mine was not listed

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