Have you ever wondered, what’s out there? Are we alone in the universe?
How many stars are there?
Where does space end, and if it ends, what comes after that, nothingness?
Inevitably, when I start thinking about the vastness of the universe, these questions come up, and honestly if you really think it, it can make your head spin.
Sky Guide sadly won’t be able to answer all of the questions I have, but it’s a great start. I’m by no means a hobby astronomer, but looking at the stars during a clear nice night has something special.
Sky Guide promises to not only make Stars and Constellations visible during daylight, but educate you on each and everyone.
You can just take out your phone, no matter if day or night and point it towards the sky to see what’s out there.
Sky Guide Functionality
Setting up Sky Guide couldn’t be easier. You press a button, the app asks you to share permissions, if you agree it will then sync itself using your location data.
That makes it possible to point your phone camera anywhere, and see what’s out there, in the actual direction you point.
Compass To The Stars
Sky Guide comes with an integrated compass that you can switch on or off.
With compass enabled, you can move around, point your phone anywhere and you’ll be able to see our galaxy and what stars, celestial bodies or constellations are in that direction in a full 360 degree motion.
It works exactly like one of these AR games where you use your camera to see the world from all angles. Except, that this is not a made up world, but the starry sky that accompanies us throughout our entire lives.
While moving your phone camera around, you can see each body with it’s accurate Latin name.
The built-in calendar keeps you up to date on any astronomical events complete with dates and details about each event.
To be notified about particular events, you’ll need the Supermassive add-on, which is reviewed further below.
Sky Guide allows you to zoom in on anything, and that also pretty far out of our galaxy.
The furthest I was able to zoom in was about 2,200 light-years and get information about stars in the Crux constellation.
Little Fun Fact: HR 4622 shines with an energy that translates into 3,700 of our suns… Wow.
To give you a feel for how far you can really zoom in, have a look at the following two screenshots of the Ursa Major Galaxy Cluster:
Every selectable body, gives you a plethora of information when tapping the small “i” icon next to it.
It’s a great way of discovering our Universe.
For an application like Sky Guide, it’s super important to be able to rotate the device, I know that I’m annoyed with some apps that do not offer this.
But with Sky Guide, no problem. It looks great in any orientation.
Observe at Different Wavelengths of the EM Spectrum
Sky Guide has another awesome feature.
It allows you to switch from Visible light observation, to X-Ray observation.
The eyes of human beings, can only observe visible light. To observe the universe with X-Rays means to make hot gases visible.
This is a spectacular feature that gives the whole space exploration much more depth.
If you’re interested to learn more about this: the Electromagnetic Spectrum is explained in much greater detail over at NASA.
Sky Guide also features an awesome search functionality that lets you search for any known body in the sky.
Broken down in useful categories to make it faster to get to what you want to find.
Want to know where the Voyager I craft is, right now? Me too!
The search really is amazingly easy to use, you can either select from pre-made categories, or type in any known celestial or human-made body.
You can also favorite any of your results, and they will be permanently marked on the 360 degree star map (Unless you remove it as a favorite of course).
Podcasts & Sky Guide Blog
The Sky Guide app comes integrated with it’s own section of interesting podcasts and blog entries.
If there are any new discoveries made, it will pop up in this section and you can read all about it.
The Supermassive add-on is a subscription service, for just $9.99/year (currently).
Supermassive increases the available map-material by factor 680. That means the total available stars in your app catalog rises to a whooping 1.7 Billion. This paid update requires about 1GB of free storage space on your device.
Which isn’t too bad if you consider how much more material will be available. I know games that take much more space than this.
With Supermassive your map material is upgraded to High-Definition which allows you to zoom in much further.
To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, here are the same two screenshots from above:
The upgrade to Supermassive not just gives you access to all of the known stars & HD map material, but also additional app functionality.
For example you can now have the app notify you about any interesting Astronomical events, like for example visible meteor showers, or solar eclipses.
Whenever a Satellite visibly passes the atmosphere, you can be notified of when that’ll happen.
Same for passes of the ISS (International Space Station), get notified when it’s scheduled to pass to see the amazing flares when it happens.
After upgrading to Supermassive, you’ll have a new menu item inside of your settings, called Tours.
Here you can take HD video tours through the universe, professionally narrated and optionally with subtitles.
Sky Guide is an beautifully detailed and well-rounded app.
I was looking, but couldn’t find anything negative to say about this app. The developers put a lot of effort in Sky Guide and it’s amazing features.
I don’t think you need to be an Astronomer or even be particularly interested in Astronomy to get something out of Sky Guide. The compass mode of the app that allows you to see the stars and planets in the sky above you, is absolutely amazing.
The supermassive update is probably only something for people who are really interested in Astronomy, but it is absolutely worth every single penny.
All of the map material is visibly upgraded after the download completes, and zooming in reveals many, many more stars that can be selected by tapping on them.
Sky Guide will stay on my phone, for a long time to come.