This is likely the most pointless Appidemic I’ve ever written, because anyone with the slightest interest in astronomy likely has or at least knows about Star Walk. But it’s also one of the best apps I own in both function and design, and I want to make sure you know about it. You may have no interest in stargazing now, but Star Walk HD for iPad could change that.
What is it?
Star Walk HD from Vito Technology is a stargazing app, an interactive reference guide, an educational tool, and a fantastic way to show off your iPad. At its most basic, it allows you to point your iPad display to the heavens, showing you and identifying exactly what’s within (and beyond) your range of vision.
But it goes quite a bit deeper than that.
How does it work?
Launch the app, point the iPad up (or down, really), and see what’s out there. Star Walk HD identifies over 200,000 celestial bodies and allows you tap them to pull up more information. If you’re not sure what that really bright object is next to the moon, just point your iPad at it, tap the object, and the app will tell you. The information provided often gets quite deep, making Star Walk HD a great app for educators and backyard astronomers, as well as those who are just having trouble finding Cassiopeia.
But Star Walk HD goes deeper with features such as the ability to travel through time; you can enter a date and location in the future or past to see what the night skies of a different year (if James Cameron had used Star Walk when making Titanic, he could have saved a lot of money in CGI effects). I also like that you can dim the screen with a red tint so it’s not so bright against a dark evening sky, and you can adjust the field of vision so that only what you can actually see in your night sky is displayed in Star Walk (and honestly, seeing how much I’m missing in my location kind of makes me sad).
There’s plenty more to be discovered (in both the app and in the skies), but this is an Appidemic, not science class. I do, however, want to mention that today’s update to Star Walk HD reduces the size of the app, brings in the 2013 event calendar, improves graphics and augmented reality capabilities, and adds…Santa Claus?
Is it contagious?
Star Walk HD is more than contagious, it’s inspiring. The iPhone version is handy as my iPhone is always with me, but if I’m planning ahead for some stargazing, I’ll always take along my iPad and Star Walk HD. The interface is slick, the graphics are fantastic, and the ambient music would be perfect for the planetariums I loved to visit as a kid (still, do actually).
The app is fun and educational and will likely inspire you to get out on more evenings to learn where you fit into the universe…the included calendar of events will constantly give you reasons to head back outside.
Of course, you already knew all of this, right? If not, grab the app, head outside and let us know what you find. I understand, after all, that we’ve got seven new galaxies to talk about.