3 great stargazing apps for iOS that demystify the constellations
The iPad is practically an essential part of the stargazing experience. There are multiple apps that detail the stars, planets, and constellations for you — even if you feel a bit weird holding one over your head while looking up at the night sky. If you’re not sure where to start, check out these top three choices from the App Store. They effortlessly will give you the details on what’s above you and offer lots of other content to explore. You’ll soon find yourself heading out more often to learn about the solar system and beyond.
This is a follow-up to the original StarWalk, and it’s well worth the purchase even if you have the first edition. With StarWalk 2, you can hold your iPad above your head to get a view of the constellations and planets in real time. It also has a Sky Live feature that tells you whether the moon is waxing or waning, and points out the visibility of other planets in the Solar System.
For better or worse, there are a number of in-app upgrades that deliver additional celestial bodies and details when perusing the sky. Choices include deep sky objects, planets, more extended portions of the solar system and satellites. If any of them sound interesting, opt for the all-in-one update at $2.99. It’s worth it for all the extra details you get.
While Sky Guide has the same concept in letting you hold your device over your head to find out what’s above, it takes a different approach in terms of its layout. The interface is rather clean and minimalist, which makes it easy to navigate and focus on the content that you want to see — the stars and further reaches of space. It also has a clever search feature that lets you find just about any celestial body, which Sky Guide will then guide you towards by following a pop-up arrow.
There’s one in-app upgrade here: satellites for $1.99. It’s pretty cool, as it really gives you a feel for the number of satellites that are in orbit around the Earth. Sky Guide also has a rather clever Notification Center widget, which tells you the rising and setting times for the Sun, Moon, and other planets.
The final point-and-look app you should check out is SkyView. It makes a clever use of augmented reality to overlay what’s out in the sky on top of your camera view. So you don’t even need to be outdoors to find out what’s overhead — just point with the camera and you’ll see constellations, planets, or satellites. It also has a rather good Notification Center widget that updates you on notable events in the sky. If there’s a meteor shower or other type of interstellar event headed your way you can tell SkyView to send you a notification so you don’t miss it.
Also, with Time Travel you can jump into the future or past to see how the sky looked, or will look, on a specific date. There’s no in-app purchases to be had, but there is a free version of SkyView if you want to try it out before buying.
Source: Science – Geek.com