In love with the stars or an aspiring astronomer and owner of a Windows 8, Windows 10 tablet? The you should be downloading the Star Chart app from the Windows Store as soon as possible if you want to explore this infinite Universe!
Ever since the dawn of mankind we have looked at the stars and wondered what they are and how they got there. And if in ancient times humans considered them gods or the souls of their ancestors, today we know what they are and how they were formed. We have comes to learn much about the celestial bodies and the mysteries and wonders of the Universe, and with Star Chart for Windows 10, Windows 8, you can see them for yourself.
Those of you who are passionate about the mysteries of the Universe and like astronomy will find this next app very helpful. Star Chart for Windows 10, Windows 8 is a marvelous app that allows users to search our Solar System and find information on each and every planet and moon that are found within it.
Star Chart for Windows 10, Windows 8 Brings the Universe Closer
Before we delve in the in the wonders of the Solar System, I must say that this app is a paid app which supports a 24-hour trial for those who want to get a taste of what it can bring them. Users who like astronomy will gladly spend the $1.49 for a chance to take this app for a spin and they would be right to do so. For the purpose of this review, I used the free demo, but I might just go the extra mile and buy it.
From the first time you start Star Chart for Windows 10, Windows 8, you will see 3D simulation of the planets, all beautifully created with stunning detail. The user can move the sky around and see from different angles. Also, by clicking on any object, you can get information about it. This works with planets, moons and stars, and most visible galaxies.
By right clicking, you can see a bottom menu that give the user a few options, such as seeing the location they are at right how it looks in that moment, which is a great options if you want to compare it to the sky from outside and get information on the stars that you can see, as well as options to speed up time, both forward and backwards so you can see how the sky was at any date in the past or in the future.
One option that I would have loved to see is the ability to manually add a time and date so you can see the Solar System as it was/will be then. However, if you want to see what the sky was like on the day you were born, then you will have to reverse it and wait for it get to that date. Luckily there are more speeds for both backwards and forwards travel, so you don’t have to wait too long.
The information contained on each object is the name, what constellation it is from, the scientific name, a picture (the pictures are mostly generic for start), and other characteristics, such as distance from Earth or the orbital period and so on.
Also on the bottom options bar, you can see the “Explore” button, which opens a menu with all the planets in the Solar System (including the Sun and Pluto, even if they are not planets). All the planets are animates, showing them rotate around the Sun and the day/night cycles moving by.
The Sky View option allows you to see how the sky looks from a specific point. You can see the constellations, along with images of them and their latin names. The last option is the Night Mode, which turns the entire view red.
From the Settings charm, users can turn on or off different features, such as names, objects of interest or orbital lines. For a cleaner look, you can set all of these options off, but if you are interested in having a complete picture of the sky, filled with information, then you might find it best to keep these active.
When you move from one object to the another, instead of just jumping to it, it moves like a short cinematic towards it, almost like a spacecraft flying from one planet to another. The planets also have a short video of each of them. This is like an overview of the orbit, the way the sky looks from there and their position relative to the Sun.
Also in the Settings charm, users can set up their location manually by imputing the coordinates, to compare the sky from the app with the real one and seek information about what they can see. Star Chart for Windows 10, Windows 8 can be used as a guide if you plan to take your telescope out for a viewing and you want to know exactly what you are looking at.
The Search charm is also a very powerful feature, allowing users to search for any celestial body and pick from the results an object which the app will bring onto the screen. This is the perfect tool if you want to see nebulae in closeup. This option also works for stars and other objects.
Overall, I think that the Star Chart app for Windows 10, Windows 8 is a must have app for anyone who likes astronomy and wants to find out more about the Universe and its mysteries. The quality of the pictures and 3D animations is not notch and the information is decent (however, it would be nice if it it were more). The features that the app has are awesome and the attention to detail paid off. I can’t say how much I enjoyed Star Chart for Windows 10, Windows 8, but in a short time, it has become one of my favorite apps.
Star Chart is one of the first apps available in the Microsoft Store. Meanwhile, its developer added a bevy of new features and improvements to the table, such as:
- Point and view support: Your Windows 10, 8 AR enabled device will open up a window into the visible universe.
- The app shifts forwards and backwards in time by up to 10,000 years so that you can witness the past.
- Control Star Chart with your voice.
- You can track satellites including Hubble and the ISS.
- You can explorer all 88 constellations.
- In-app purchases allow users to explorer 120K stars up to magnitude +10, and unlock 18M stars.
- The zoom function lets you view the sky in extra detail.
- Fully configurable — The app focuses only on the sky objects that you are interested in.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April, 2013 and has been since updated for freshness, and accuracy.