Sunday, 7 September 2014

Android Apps - the solar system in 3D, Star Chart

Rank: 4 Star
Mini Requirement: Android version, varies depending on device
Size: 50.2 MB
Have you ever stared at the sky on a clear night and wished you knew more about the constellations Well, Star Chart puts all the information you need at your fingertips. This beautifully designed
solar system app harnesses the power of GPS and uses augmented reality technology (for devices with a built-in compass) to provide you with an annotated 3D view of the heavens in real time, from wherever you happen to be on the planet.
Want to know the name of a particularly bright star? Hold your tablet and Android phone up towards it, identify the corresponding astral body on the star map, and tap it to discover more details — including distance from Earth, level of brightness, and which constellation it forms part of. Even more information is available for planets, including diameter, surface temperature and orbital period, all accompanied by impressive 31) animations that would be wasted on a smartphone screen.
Clever hidden features include the ability to override the GPS function and manually set your location to another city to see what the sky looks like from almost anywhere else in the world. You can also travel through time to see the skies as they looked thousands of years ago or how they will look far into the future.
        The app itself is free and provides a lot of useful information as standard. Keen amateur astronomers should consider paying for the in-app packs, which add meteor showers, comets and satellites for a couple of quid each. You can also pay to extend the star catalogue, reach further into the solar system or add Messier objects (www.snipca.c0m111574), such as clusters or nebulae, to the map.