Star Walk Astronomy App Is Set To Become Even More Beautiful

Star Walk Astronomy App Is Set To Become Even More Beautiful

Star Walk is one of my favorite iPad apps which I use all the time. So I was really interested to meet the people behind this app when its developer, Vito Technology, hit town for WWDC this week. And as their demonstration shows, they’ve gone all out to enhance even further the beauty of their wares.

Star Walk Astronomy App Is Set To Become Even More Beautiful

Welcome to the Solar System: the new Star Walk and Solar Walk updates present vastly improved visuals.

Today I had a welcome chance to meet the lovely ladies of Vito Technology, makers of the really excellent and super popular  astronomy apps Star Walk and Solar Walk. With upgrades due out shortly, they have really enhanced the beauty and functionality of these great apps.

Star Walk tracks heavenly objects in real time. If you hold up your iPad in any direction the app projects the stars, planets, satellites, and deep space objects that are behind it onto the screen. It will even overlay the app-generated sky onto what your iPad camera sees, giving the names and info of objects right in front of you. It’s a really thoughtful app that outlines the constellations with classical depictions of the mythical deities, heroes and creatures they represent to show clearly how those tiny, shining dots join up. The app cannot help but spark real interest in astronomy, and for those who already know about the stars and solar system, it’s a wonderful tool to enhance astronomical observations. Especially for people who live in cities and rarely get to see the stars in all their splendor.

The app uses GPS to pin down where you are standing and your device’s magnetic compass / accelerometers to know which way it is facing, and projects its 3D map of space onto the screen as appropriate. The whereabouts of the planets at any date and time are, of course, known, and the flight paths (orbits) of artificial satellites are also public property. Star Walk tracks 8000 satellites, including the International Space Station (ISS), which is visible to the naked eye at night.

In the new version of Star Walk the horizon will be… well, horizontal. This is a great tweak over the old version, which was a little bit annoying by jumping about when you repositioned your iPad.

The new version will also integrate Facebook in addition to its existing Twitter stargazing community. Users will be able to post their celestial observations onto Facebook from inside the app. The beta iOS 6 SDK also promises to make future iterations of the Walk apps even more beautiful.

Star Walk’s sister app, Solar Walk, has also had a makeover with cooler graphical effects and a more convincing feel of moving the massive inertia of the planets with swipe gestures on the screen. Before, the planets span round when touched but now they are hard to move, which feels somehow more realistic. Solar Walk has added deeper info about the sun and planets as well as new sections on comets and dwarf planets such as Eris, Ceres and Sedna.

Vito Technology has also updated another of their popular apps, Geo Walk. Geo Walk is an encyclopedia of interesting places, people and animals, with a historic timeline going back 600 million years and forward 250 million years. It’s not an encyclopedia of everything but rather of Earth’s curiosities.

The Walk apps are truly an example of how useful and innovative the iPad can be. For amateur astronomers, Star Walk is about the best thing to happen since the invention of the telescope.

Star Walk Astronomy App Is Set To Become Even More Beautiful

Vito Technology’s Allie and Alena demonstrate Star Walk on the iPad.

  • SkolVikes88

    Freakin’ awesome, x2.  Love that women are behind this and it’s already a lovely app.  Two thumbs up!

  • lwdesign1

    I really love this beautiful app and am glad to hear it’s being worked on and enhanced. It all started about 9 months ago when I frequently went out to walk my cat at night, and began to wonder exactly what I was looking at in the sky. A trip to the App Store and a purchase of StarWalk made everything very clear. Nice to see the ladies behind the app. 

    One thing I’d like to be able to turn OFF is the automatic download of sky images. I have about 35 images on my iPhone taking up space and can’t figure out how to get rid of them or turn off the auto downloads. Is this even possible in this version? If so, let me know.
  • rar745

    @SkolVikes88 – Alena and Allie are not responsible for creating these apps. Alena Kudasheva (a native Russian who studied Intercultural Communication at a college in Novosibirsk, Russia) is the “Marketing Manager”. Aleksandra/Alexandra “Allie” Kan (studied International Relations at colleges in Tomsk and Novosibirsk, Russia) is the “Social Media Manager”. (source: LinkedIn)

  • jpaul

    You really need to redo the story and the photos–and avoid the strumpetting!

    Shame on both you and Vito Technologies for promoting Star Walk this way. It’s misleading and sophomoric, even objectifying. I would encourage browsers to avoid this site and Vito T. apps, including Star Walk, until this type of coverage gets cleaned up.

About the author

Alex KahneyAlex Kahney is in charge of sponsored posts on Cult of Mac and Cult of Android. He's also a musician, soccer player and runner. He lives in London.

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