I wasn’t much of an astronomy fan until I found this amazing app for iOS and Google Android. With a simple pointing of your device at the sky you’ll discover a whole new world of galaxies, constellations, stars, planets and other cosmic bodies that fly by the earth without you ever noticing.
With Skyview, you don’t need complex equipment to map out locations of cosmic objects. All you need to do is install the app on your device, set the view to the cosmos, and you’ll see the beauty of the sky you’re looking for. On initial launch, you will need to calibrate the app’s AR view which you can achieve manually if you have an idea of your location or coordinates. The app makes uses of the camera then layers it with AR. In your settings, you can toggle visibility between different objects and celestial bodies such constellations, stars, satellites (yes the ISS and Hubble too), planets and others. You can also check the Sky Paths of these bodies so as to see their locations in the sky on any date and shift between the compass and horizon displays.
The app also offers other cool features such as Time Travel where you can jump to the future or back in time to see how the sky looked on different dates and social sharing where you can capture images and share them with your friends and loved ones. I liked the fact that the app even offers tutorials on the first launch.
Skyview requires iOS 8.0 or later for your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. The actual compatibility of the Android app varies with the device.
The best part is that you don’t need an Internet connection, therefore, you can take your phone out to remote locations, say when you are hiking or camping.
Ease of Use
Setting up and using SkyView is quite easy and you’ll be impressed by how seamless the app is. Some users have complained about the camera being upside down and camera angles being off. I myself didn’t experience these on either the iOS or Android app. Calibrating the AR might pose problems for first-time users, but there are plenty of tutorials to enlighten them on the process. The latest version recreates the iOS 10 widget and provides a few bug fixes.
The UI looks beautiful on any device, and the design is brilliant. The text prompts at the bottom are large and contrast brightly against the dark background. Ads aren’t intrusive at all. The AR brings the entire app to life, and you will thoroughly enjoy using this app.
SkyView’s is not free to install. It will cost you $1.99, but there are no in-app purchases which is a plus.
- Brilliant design;
- You can pick which feature you want to view by toggling, say between constellations and individual planets;
- Doesn’t need WiFi or internet.
- The camera occasionally upside down;
- The app doesn’t work well on some Android devices;
- Recalibration in cases of off-angles proves difficult sometimes.
SkyView is a great way to enthuse users who don’t know much about the universe above us to start learning more. The AR idea was especially brilliant. With a beautiful design and really useful features, you’ll enjoy using this app. I totally recommend it.