One of the most gorgeous stargazing apps available for iOS has just received what the developers call a “supermassive” update. After looking through the updated and new features, I don’t consider that an understatement. The app was already comprehensive and beautiful, and now it’s chock full of even more stunning imagery and knowledge. Let’s take a look at what’s changed.
New Comets, New Chinese Satellites, and an Updated Map of Mercury
Some of the best comets in history have been added to the already impressive collection of frozen masses, and the app also adds in new ones that will become visible in the future. The Chinese space laboratory Tiangong–2 has also been brought into Sky Guide’s repository, so you can track its location and find out when it will be visible.
Explore the Surface of Mercury
Using data from the latest NASA probes, Sky Guide has also updated its map of Mercury. Now you can see even more of the terrain and features of the first planet. You interact with planets in Sky Guide by first locating them, and then tapping the "i" symbol to bring up informational cards. Each planet's card features a three-dimensional map you can pull down and then spin around to view various features. Parts of the planet that aren't in sunlight aren't visible to you, of course, but there's still plenty to enjoy.
A Brand New ‘Supermassive’ In-App Purchase at a Minimal Price
For $9.99 per year, you can subscribe to Sky Guide’s “supermassive” repository of images and videos. The new in-app purchase also provides a free two-week trial, so you can check it out and see if you like it before you shell out any money for the features.
Zoom In on Galaxies in High Definition
With Supermassive, you'll enjoy high-definition zoom of the deep sky, along with a larger catalog of stars. For thousands of galaxies, nebulae, clusters, and planets, you'll be able to zoom in much further than you could before. Andromeda looks absolutely beautiful in the high definition zoom, and you can get an amzing view of astronomical features like the Horsehead and Flame Nebulae and more. There's plenty to explore with the increased zoom capability, and that alone might just be worth ten dollars a year.
Enjoy Cinematic Tours of the Cosmos
Also included in the Supermassive feature is a collection of cinematic tours. You can explore and discover even more of the cosmos with these subtitled videos. They allow you to find out great features of the night sky that you can explore in more depth later, as well as learn about famous astronomers and the history of the universe.
A Long-Awaited Update
The developers and scientists behind Sky Guide have been working on this update for two years. While they haven’t been sitting on their laurels and ignoring bug fixes and compatibility issues, new content hasn’t been added to this extent until now. That, the developers say, is why the update is called “Supermassive.”
Sky Guide is a $2.99 purchase on the App Store, with an in-app purchase of $9.99 per year to unlock Supermassive.