Few astronomy apps out there are capable of immersing their users in quite as much atmospheric depth and information as Star Walk 2. This is an app that combines the weight and accuracy of up-to-the-minute astronomical data based on precise calculations, with a smooth, clean interface and a design whose presentation of the night sky will not only illuminate your device’s screen, but also fill your ears with atmospheric brilliance and inflame your imagination.
So many astronomy and star-mapping apps exist, but Star Walk 2 is quite simply the most visually appealing of them all. Stunning earthly scenes are eclipsed not only by detailed maps of stars from afar, but also the option to view spectacular phenomena like nebulae, satellites, and other space-based objects more closely and in more detail than any other app can claim to manage.
Providing a Celestial Atlas
We already know that the intention of a sequel is to improve upon the original, so let’s look at the essentials of the app first. You’re treated to the warm familiarity of the First Star Walk upon opening the app; it’s still a window to the stars and other celestial bodies you cannot necessarily see with the naked eye. It works in the same manner as original Star Walk owners have become accustomed: point your device at the night’s sky, and Star Walk 2 will celestial map, adjusting constantly to you position and the orientation of your device in order to provide a highly accurate portrayal of what lies beyond the lower atmospheres of planet Earth.
Straight away, the improved feel of the interface makes you aware that you’re enjoying a sequel app that’s come along in strides since the original. Navigation of the skies feels smoother thanks to more seamless movement animation on the screen, and there is noticeably less stuttering and momentary freezing than in the original, too (though this depends on the power of your device, of course).
An App that Layers the Sky
Though the original Star Walk had a range of options, Star Walk 2 lays on the content a little more thickly this time around. You can choose to customise how starkly the various objects in the sky are displayed, meaning you can brighten or darken different objects such as constellations, nebula, planetary systems, and satellites, with the purpose of focusing more closely on any one of these formations and more. Other visual options that are largely aesthetic rather than functional include the ability to overlay the earth’s atmosphere, the horizon, or even water scenes. There’s even the option of cranking up (or turning down) the soothing, wondrous music that plays in the background.
If it’s nebulae that you’re particularly interested in, Star Walk 2 even allows you to swipe the screen in order for you to explore them in 3D. In fact, Vito Technologies (the development team behind the app) claim that Star Walk 2 is the first app to allow fully 3D exploration of nebulae. StarMapping.co.uk feels this is a particularly impressive feature, and recommends you check out the following link to learn even more about fascinating nebulae and their origins: http://www.universetoday.com/61103/what-is-a-nebula/.
A Truly Customisable Astronomy Experience
The most stand-out feature of Star Walk 2 isn’t anything in particular, but rather the sum of its content and its interface. Put together, these two things add up to an app that’s highly customisable, allowing it to be as simple or as complex an affair as you desire. You can choose to display just the planets, or just nebulae, for example, or go full-on and have it display everything. The extra content, such as additional nebulae, stars, and other deep-space objects, do come at extra cost – you can pay a flat sum of £2.29 and have all the content at once, however. The extra content will be worth it for avid star-gazers, but choosing not to spend extra money doesn’t by any means render the app less useful.
Additional, familiar functions such as Time Machine (allowing you to see the state of the sky on any chosen date, past, present, or future) and the search function (allowing you to jump straight to any object or formation you may already have in mind) are welcome returns here, too. Star Walk 2 is quite simply an astounding astronomy app that’s perfect for mapping stars, and one whose content can be purchased and tailored to your own level of experience, knowledge, or interest.