Developer: Vito Technology Inc.
Price: $2.99 Download on the App Store
StarWalk for iPad immerses you in the Solar System.
It turns an iPad into a virtual window that reveals constellations and other celestial bodies in real-time. Pinch-to-zoom elegantly focuses in on stars, planets, shooting stars or deep space. The sky is truly alive, as the daylight matches actual time and shooting stars and comets sweep through the galaxy. Hold the iPad overhead and slowly pan through the sky to see what it reveals.
StarWalk for iPad also literally travels through time. You can scroll through a timeline that moves into the future or the past, revealing the astronomical conditions at that moment. Constellations are illuminated with subtle illustrations. Either view the sky around you by moving around the iPad, or zoom in on specific elements by scrolling, panning and zooming.
These features alone would make StarWalk a desirable download. However, StarWalk for iPad is packed with so much other information it is easy to get lost inside of it. The "Sky Live" feature presents sunrise, sunset, the lunar cycle and sunrise times on other planets in a visually stunning format.
The "Picture of the Day" tab is equally amazing in photo quality and sharing options. Numerous pictures include amazing shots of deep space, many taken with the Hubble telescope. While most apps only let you share pictures with social media, StarWalk goes further by including options to print, email or save the photos directly to your iPad.
Budding astronomers will love the search feature, which finds constellations, planets, distant galaxies, stars and satellites. The location section is similar to Google Earth in that you can spin and explore the globe. Yet with StarWalk for iPad you get an accurate view of sunlight and what cities look like from space. It is a revealing viewpoint of light pollution and the closest we will get to seeing Earth from space.
If your location is not determined automatically there is a way to activate it manually by choosing your location on the globe.
Bottom line: StarWalk for iPad is amazing.