Wednesday, September 18, 2013

New SkyView Satellite app for iPhone Rocks the Rocks

I had the opportunity to test out Skyview Satellite Guide, a new app from Terminal Eleven, the makers of Skyview.  If you are familiar with the first app, it provides a first-person overlay on what you see, through your iDevice, on what planets, stars, constellations, and some satellites are out there in the sky.  I call that one, one of the best apps for an iDevice ever.

So when they offered me the chance to preview the Beta of Skyview Satellite Guide, I didn't hesitate.  And it doesn't disappoint.  This truly is one of the most beautiful apps ever.  It starts out upon loading with a zoom-in to Earth from space.  You can select what type of satellites to show, and it color-codes by orbit for low, mid, and high orbits.

Like its predecessor, you can search with the magnifying glass for a particular satellite, or tap to see what is orbiting.  This includes manmade satellites classified by use, as well as space junk.

Tapping on a satellite gives you a 3D representation of it, and more info about it, including orbital data.

However, the cooliest part of it is when you tap the arrow icon, it takes you to a first-person POV from the satellite, and you can rotate around and "look" from its standpoint in space right now.
If you are a space hobbyist, enthusiast, or just generally curious, I strongly encourage you to grab this app!  For only $1.99, it will provide endless hours of joy exploring all the stuff floating around the Earth.

Also, by tapping the "AR" button in the upper left corner, you can flip to a live camera overlay view, so you can look in a particular direction from where you are standing, and see what is floating above (or below) you. 
So, here are answers to a few questions that popped into my head:

1. Does it work offline?  Yes.  You do not need a cell signal or WiFi to use it.
2. Does it show everything, including all the military satellites?  Well, I don't know!  But it sure seems to, the database is vast.
3. Is it eye-opening?  YES.  I never knew there was SO MUCH stuff out there, that mankind has put up.

For the Terminal Eleven folks: first of all, FANTASTIC apps, they are a great contribution to Mankind.  Second, I think what I would really like to see, is some kind of integration that would help amateur astronomers out.  For example, what if we tap on a body, then tap a button that moves our telescope to point to that object in the sky?  What if we tap another button, and we can see on our phone, the view through the telescope (no more squinting at some uncomfortable angle), and control the focus and movements of the telescope from the iDevice?  Just dreaming.

No comments:

Post a Comment