By Gary Abel on Fri, 02/12/2010
I got a chance to look at and talk to the developer of the StarGazer and StarVoyager iPhone apps at Macworld today. These are amazing apps for those who are interested in the nighttime sky. The company took the essentials of their desktop astronomy applications and adapted them for the iPhone.
The apps contain a wealth of information about the stars and planets and includes NASA spacecraft imagery. By simply pointing your iphone toward the part of the sky you are interested in, the app shows the graphics associated it. Just tapping on a star or planet shown on the screen opens up another window with just about anything you'd ever want to know about that object. StarGazer is for the casual stargazer and SkyVoyager is for those who want to view even more objects and have access to more information.
One of the most amazing things about this app is that it can be used to wirelessly position a telescope so that it points at the part of the sky or object that you want to view. You just tap what you want to look at on the iPhone screen and it's all automatic from there. This is accomplished with an accessory called SkyFi. This accessory enables your iPhone to link with the RS-232 serial interface found on most telescopes. The app is essentially a wireless-to-serial adapter.
StarGazer and StarVoyager are available in the App Store for $2.99 and $14.99 respectively. The SkyFi is available for $149 directly from their website. www.carinasoft.com