Apps, iPad, iPhone, Reviews

Looking Up With Sky Guide

Sky Guide

Looking Up With Sky Guide

I love the night sky. It’s awe-inspiring and filled with so much to discover, but being a city dweller, I rarely get to enjoy the night sky in all it’s glory except for when I go on camping trips, which is not often enough. 

Sky GuideI came across Sky Guide from FifthStarLabs in the Apple Store and it caught my attention.  This app was a 2014 Apple Developer Award Winner and it’s easy to see why.  Very attractive and easy to use and chock full of information on the many heavenly bodies above our heads.

Sky Guide is designed to work on both iPhone and iPad. It uses a built-in compass, and can function with or without WiFi, data or a GPS signal, so taking this app to remote back-country is not a problem. No setup is required, just point it to the night sky and it will tell you all about what you’re looking at. You can search thousands of celestial bodies and the app will guide you with an arrow to the object.

It includes cinematic time controls so you can see where the moon will be later in the evening for example.  You can watch approaching comets or identify and track any of the hundreds of man-made satellites above the earth.  You can also schedule reminders and notifications.

The app is filled with immersive imagery with millions of stars. You can gesture the level of starlight so if you’re more comfortable in urban light, you can dial down the intensity. Dial it up and you’ll feel like you’re walking in Space.

The latest version of Sky Guide includes a countdown timer for the New Horizons mission to Pluto. You can view the latest images and track the crafts distance as it closes in on its objective.

It has some cool extras that also work with Apple Watch. Updates on astronomical events; moon phase, meteor showers, eclipses and it will send you a notification when an event is about to occur. It will let you know when the International Space Station is overhead and get this, you can even tweet one of the astronauts. 

If your device has an A7 processor or higher, you can see star trails when you quickly move through time. There is even an X-ray filter to reveal more of what’s in the sky. The app requires a gyroscope so you will not be able to use it on an iPad 1 or iPhone 3GS or earlier device.

It’s rare to find an app with this much going for it and at 0.99 this is truly a great find.

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Carmine Delligatti-Drummer, former Support Manager for Deneba Software, ACD Systems, Mareware, Inc. and Swiss Made Marketing. Avid technology blogger and Managing Editor of Cupertinotimes.com.