NOTE: As of the next update submission this application will also be available for use on the iPad
Astronomy enthusiasts, who love apps that are gorgeous to look at and full of great information, should really take a look at Solar Walk, by Vito Technology. Following in the footsteps of Star Walk, they come through with another solid start to a great application. This is a great educational application that is so well presented that you will instantly be interested in digging in and learning everything this application has to offer.
You open the app and are instantly impressed with the quality of the graphics. Who needs a menu when they can bedazzle you with the work they’ve put into this application! It starts up and flies you right to planet Earth where it shows you the rotation of the Earth as the current day progresses on.
What happens next is now up to you. Pinch to zoom in for more detail or zoom out to the entire Solar System. Use your fingers to tilt your perspective up or down. Dig into the information button to find out what great facts and tidbits they have in store for you!
There are so many educational aspects built into this app that can be both engaging for adults and children. Click on a planet, moon, etc and hit the “i” button to get factual information about what you’re looking at. Great physical features such as the size, length of day, what it’s made of, and even how the planets got their name. You’ll be amazed at what information you can find out because they’ve really put a lot of work into this!
In future updates, I’d like to see a pop-up tutorial the first time the app is opened (and then accessible through a button within the application for later retrieval) to explain the basics of moving through the app, what we can find/learn, and how.
It would also be great to expand this out to show other solar system features, such as the asteroid belt, comets, and other objects that reside in our solar system. It would be great to even include the Milky Way.
I personally love astronomy related calendars, because people are too often unaware of the amazing events that happen on a daily basis. Plus it keeps people opening the application to see what’s coming up next. Star Walk has an amazing calendar built into it and I’d love to see that feature expanded into this application. It would be nice to see a calendar that includes events such as orbiting comets, meteor showers, asteroid events, etc. Then add a link within the app, telling people if they are interested in some of the great calendar events you’ve already embedded in the Star Walk app, they should run over there and buy it too…
Another great educational feature would be to show people, based on a location on Earth, how the Earth’s orbiting affects the changes in seasons (based on how the Earth is tilting towards the Sun). Far too often people do not understand the hows and whys behind why we have season changes, and why the Southern hemisphere is different than the Northern. While I understand it, it would be valuable to see it!
Overall, Solar Walk is great app to look at, it will have you looking in every nook and cranny to see what else you can find, and based on my experience with Star Walk the developers seem to be really engaged in building their application with new features, and listening to peoples’ feedback. Plus this app is filled to the brim with great educational values that you’ll want to absorb! You can’t go wrong with an app that’s off to a great start, made by people who want to make the best app out there.