By Nate Adcock on Mon, 09/21/2009
Star Walk 3.0 is now available in the App store, and you can learn more at the links provided (our original review). I added my own mini-review after the break, and am working on getting some codes for a giveaway, so if you don't have a copy, stay tuned. This is a highly recommended amateur astronomy app, and has recently been included in the Apple "What's Hot" list, so if you are a space geek like me, or have kids who are, you will want to check this out!
The new version's most notable feature is the "spinning" globe that can be selected from the options menu, and controlled with the usual snappy gestures. Day/night shading indicates the sunlight terminator, and city lights are a nice touch on the night side of the globe. You can reset your location quickly to various points by placing an icon, and can also pinpoint specific cities by zooming and rotating to the area you wish to focus on. When you return to the night sky view, you will see what the star pattern looks like from that part of the world. Combined with SW's time machine feature for fast-forwarding and reversing the cosmos, you could realistically calculate eclipse events from locations around the world, or simply get an idea of what the night sky might look like for your next vacation.
SW provides a dearth of information on our solar system, constellations, galaxies, star clusters, nebula, and more, but one can also dive into wikipedia links to learn more information about an object. Some of the Messier object imagery could use a refresh, as can be seen from the comparison above (the wiki image below is a more recent Hubble shot). By comparison to the recent sky-viewing features in the PC version of Google Earth--even including 3-D models of Mars, the Moon, etc--Star Walk is the closest thing I have found for the iPhone, but it would be immensely cool if the SW developers could link in all the awesome embedded content that the Google PC application provides (vidcasts, virtual tours, etc.). You can grab SW in the app store on your device or at the iTunes link below:
Don't forget to check back in a few days, as hopefully we will have some more codes to giveaway!!