Wednesday, May 26, 2010

iPhone App: SkyVoyager

SkyVoyager is a powerful astronomy app for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. It is designed for both beginners and advanced users. It contains a database of 300,000 stars to 10th magnitude, and 30,000 deep sky objects, including the entire NGC and IC catalogs. It renders the planets and moons in detail, using NASA mission imagery, and includes a database of several hundred asteroids, comets, and artificial satellites.

SkyVoyager accurately shows the sky from any location on Earth, at any time up to 100 years in the past or future. It is a precise astronomical calculator, computing the positions of solar system objects to sub-arcsecond precision with the latest JPL planetary ephemerids.

You can purchase the optional SkyVoyager Expansion Pack, which adds 2.5 million stars, to 12th magnitude, from the Tycho-2 catalog. The Expansion Pack also includes more than 300 color images of the best known nebulae and galaxies from the Digitized Sky Survey. With the Expansion Pack, your sky charts will become dramatically more realistic and useful.

If you have an iPhone 3G S with a compass, SkyVoyager can show you the sky in same the direction that you're holding your phone. Shake the phone to activate its compass and accelerometer - now you can identify stars and planets by holding your phone next to them! You can find any object in the sky by following an arrow that SkyVoyager points in its direction. If you have an older iPhone or iPod Touch, SkyVoyager supports the accelerometer built into your device as well. Tilting the phone now shows you the sky at the same angle that you're holding your phone.

SkyVoyager contains new interface themes that let you change the look-and-feel of the app. In addition to the "Classic" look, there's now a cool black "Onyx" theme, and a much-improved "Night Vision" theme that preserves your dark adaption as you're exploring the night sky.

The Time Flow feature lets you animate the night sky over periods from seconds to years, using simple VCR controls accessible from the main sky chart view. Follow the diurnal motion of the Sun, Moon, and stars over a single night. See Jupiter's moons revolve around the giant planet. Watch the planets pass through the constellations as they (and we!) orbit the Sun. View binary stars wheeling around each other over many years, compressed into a few seconds.

SkyVoyager includes more than 1000 informative, plain-English descriptions of the constellations, planets, moons, stars, and deep sky objects. It contains hundreds of images from NASA space missions, the Hubble Space Telescope, and the world's foremost amateur and professional astro-photographers. Unlike other astronomy apps, which just give you Wikipedia links, our object descriptions are carefully researched and fact-checked - and you can use them anywhere, without needing internet access.

If you have a computer-controlled telescope, SkyVoyager can use the WiFi capabilities built into your iPhone or iPod Touch to point it in the sky. To do this, you will also need a WiFi-to-serial adapter, such as our patentented SkyFi accessory, or our Voyager software running on a Mac or PC.

SkyVoyager's simple user interface, and its ability to wirelessly control your telescope, make it an invaluable tool for exploring the heavens.

"As you can see here a very detailed view for
any object in the huge database."

"You can also navigate very close to planets
and view a real-time position and angle
quite easily."

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