Star Walk 2 by Vito Technology Inc. is one of the best—if not the best—stargazing apps in the App Store. Thursday, Star Walk 2 got slashed to zero bucks as part of Apple’s Free App of the Week promotion in the App Store.
Winner of Apple Design Award, the app taps your iPhone’s sensors and the GPS to determine the exact position of stars, planets, constellations, comets, ISS, satellites, star clusters, nebulae and meteor showers in the night sky.
The app features crisp Retina graphics with augmented-reality style HUD that renders the sky over live camera feed, responding precisely to the movement of your device without requiring Internet connection.
App Store editors explain:
Discover the wonders of the universe with this powerful, easy-to-use astronomy toolkit. Just aim your device to view the real-time positions of planets, stars, constellations and more in stunning interactive map. Zoom in to explore Wikipedia articles, 3D models and other media related to your favorite celestial bodies.
The app normally sells for $2.99 and has never been free in the App Store since its August 2014 debut until today. If you’re interested in Night Sky 2, read my review.
Star Walk 2 highlights:
- Real-time motion tracking — As you hold your phone up and point it towards the sky, Star Walk 2 follows your motions using the built-in gyroscope to match the map on your screen to the stars seen from your location. Easily find any star, constellation, or satellite in the sky by tapping Search. Star Walk will indicate the direction to look in.
- New point of view — Unlike on a plain photograph, every star in Star Walk 2 has coordinates. That means you can look at objects, for instance, a constellation from any vantage point in space, not to mention the ultimate accuracy of your map for your exact location.
- Now and later — Star Walk 2 gives you accurate daily data on current moon phase, time of sunset and sunrise, and elevation of planets. With just one slide you can see how the sky will look later tonight or throughout the year.
- Pro stargazing — Special night-time soft red mode will help you preserve night vision when stargazing with a telescope. You can see the sky in X-Ray (and 5 more filters) to study the invisible structure of the universe. Live tracking for over 8,000 satellites will help you catch iridium flares, and detailed articles will satisfy the most curious inquirer.
Compared to the original Night Sky, Night Sky 2 has a simpler user interface optimized for Retina screens, atmospheric visual and sound effects and soundtrack, beautifully handcrafted artwork for constellations inspired by minimalist low-poly art and additional detailed 3D models of celestial bodies.
In addition to stock celestial bodies, objects like planetary nebulae, constellations, dwarf planets, comets and asteroids, man-made satellites, as well as layer-by-layer planets and missions, are available as In-App Purchases.
In its most recent update, the app has added high-definition Martian surface data and missions to Mars.
The 124-megabyte app requires an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad with iOS 7.0 or later. Night Sky 2 is optimized for the iPhone 5/5s/5c, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus and currently lacks a WatchKit component.