Mobile phones can do a lot of things these days. Aside from the usual call and SMS functionalities, smart phone operating systems have allowed users to enjoy a wide range of features that apply from food, to transportation, to entertainment, and basically everything under the sun. Thanks to Star Walk HD, you can now add the sun itself to the stuff that your smart phone help you with. Star Walk HD is a multi purpose star gazing tool that provides users with a plenty of learning tools, updated and relevant information, and most importantly, a chance to enjoy the wonders of the celestial skies.
The basic use of Star Walk is simple: load the app, point your phone camera into the sky, and let the app will do the rest. The basic idea is that the app identifies the immediate stars in your viewpoint -and the easiest way to get yourself oriented is by pointing your camera towards the moon. After that, the rest is a simple matter of choosing which stars or constellations you are most curious about and then clicking the small icon next to the name in order to load additional information.
Location information will be used so if you are big on privacy and security, you will want to find workarounds on this (or just do without). On the other hand, if you are more of the social type, then you will appreciate the app's built in networking features -especially with its' own active Twitter community and easy image sharing functions. The app uses small bit of space, though those who like to crunch their bits and bytes will appreciate knowing that the app also allows you to determine caching options for the photo downloads, which means that you only get the image you choose to have.
The folks at Vito Technology are actively updating the app with new information and the occasional system clean up - which is a good bang for your buck considering that this app is a one-time purchase with no IAP's. Our only complain is the visuals of the constellations -which aren't so bad, but the overlaying artwork could use a bit more style. The user interface is pretty easy to use, neat to look at, and is really responsive to input commands.
Novice star gazers will enjoy the ease of use of Star Walk HD, but veteran astronomers will also like some of the more advanced features. TelRad naturally comes up as the most vital feature in this case as the app functions as a guide for those with standalone telescopes. Being able to afford doing without paper star charts is a great option. And while a few folks out there may not be so keen on the change, a quick 15 minutes with this app will certainly ease the transition.
For those of you wondering about the not so obvious eye-strain of staring into the bright mobile device screen against the dark backdrop of a night time sky, fear not. Star Walk HD's night time mode allows you to view everything clearly -and for those working with separate camera to take photos of the sky, this helps remove any excess light that could affect the exposure of a shot.
Lastly, the app features a wide database of star positions from the past few years as well as expected trajectories for the immediate future. To view them, simply slide the time bar on the interface in order to move forwards or backwards in time. For most users, this will be an interesting little feature to enjoy, for those serious about star gazing, this is an excellent tool for planning locations for viewing celestial events.