Even though stargazing is never a thing for me, I always enjoy learning about the universe we live in. You might have been familiar with Star Walk, a stargazing app that helps you to learn about the stars, constellations, planets, and more. It allows you to point your iPhone at the night sky, and see the locations of stars, planets, and constellations.
Star Walk also allows you to turn on the augmented reality feature to merge what the camera on your iPhone sees with the data that it has. You can also choose a different date to see what the sky looks like on that date. The features are very good — so good that it won the Apple Design Award in 2010.
If you and your kids love to stargaze or learn about the stars and constellations, I’d suggest you give the new Star Walk 2 app a try. In addition to the new look and feel, better animation and augmented reality, Star Walk 2 also include plenty of new information on the celestial objects.
Planets, Stars, and Constellations
There are a couple of ways you can use Star Walk 2. You can pick up your iPhone or iPad, and point it out in any direction. If you do, the app will show you a view of the sky in that direction. But, you can also use the app as a learning resource, by going through the celestial objects one by one.
Simply tap on the magnifying glass icon on the bottom left corner. Star Walk 2 will show five tabs of celestial objects: constellations, our solar system, nebulae, individual stars, and the man-made satellites. For learning purposes, I’d suggest you start with our solar system first.
This includes the sun, the moon, the planets, and other objects that you can unlock through in-app purchases, such as dwarf planets, asteroids, comets, and meteor showers. As you browse each object, you can learn facts about them, rotate them, look at some real photos, and read the corresponding Wikipedia entry.
You can then move on to browsing the constellations, the individual stars, and the star nebulae. When you browse a constellation, you can learn about its history, how it got its name, and see how many stars make up the constellation.
Parents Need to Know
While stargazing doesn’t require any specific reading capabilities, learning deeper about each celestial object does. Based on the complexity of both the text and the content, I recommend accompanying your kids if they’re nine years old or younger.
Star Walk 2 has several in-app purchases that you can buy to unlock additional content, such as more info on the constellations, planets, and satellites. Even though you can use the app without an Internet connection, many of the features would benefit from having an Internet connection and location information.
Things I Like
Other than the beautiful augmented reality and detailed animation, I learned a lot from Star Walk 2. Here are some of the things that I picked up from the app:
- The distance between the Sun and the Earth is called one Astronomical Unit (AU), and it is used to measure other distances in our solar system.
- Until today, there is an Outer Space Treaty that enables every nation to explore the moon for peaceful purposes.
- If Jupiter were 80 times bigger, it can be considered as a star.
- Saturn has the least density among all the planets, having a mean density of only 0.7 of water’s density.
Star Walk 2 is a great stargazing app for kids and an extensive resource to learn more about our universe. It really is a great way to enjoy the night sky with everyone in the family. If your kids are much younger, you might want to check out their other app: Star Walk Kids.
App was provided for our honest review.