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Stars for iPhone

written by: KateG•edited by: DaniellaNicole•updated: 5/21/2009

Astronomers of the world rejoice! Your start charts will no longer be an unruly pile in the backseat of your car. Take your charts with you on your iPhone.

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    Stars for iPhone is one of those rare applications that can be used by people who have either a passing interest in this hobby or a more serious enthusiast. If you look at the stars but can't seem to remember what constellations are above your head, this is the application for you.

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    Application Objectives

    This application has one simple goal in mind. It shows you what star are sitting above your head at any given moment. It uses the GPS locator to figure out where you are, if you then look up, what you see in the sky should match what you see on the screen. Just bear in mind that there is a serious compression factor when you try to fit the night sky on to an iPhone. The spacing between constellations is not completely accurate. You may have to crane your neck much farther than you think in order to see the next constellation over. This is a common problem when you try to fit round objects onto a square shape, as many cartographers would tell you much to their frustration.

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    Moving Around the Map/ Controls

    If you want to see what is coming up, or what you already missed, you can scroll through the map by flicking the screen. Just be aware it is very easy to get disoriented on the screen. You have no guide to where you came from, so getting back to center can be a bit tricky. Even through maps scroll they are a little bit limited. Don't expect to get a 360 scroll of the entire night sky. You are only get to see what is near you, but then again you would only get to see that if you looked up.

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    Astral Markings

    If the careful observer looked in the upper left hand corner of the screen they would notice a strange series of numbers and letters. Anyone who looks through the night sky with a telescope regularly, will recognize these markings as the location coordinates that professionals use. These are handy if you do happen to have the full telescope set up, and you want to be able to find things precisely. We aware that as you flick and scroll you make need to give these numbers a few moments to catch up, otherwise you will have the old coordinates and the new view on your screen.

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    Image Quality

    This application has a relatively simplistic image view. The background is either dark blue or black with white dots representing stars. Larger stars are represented by larger dots and smaller stars are represented by smaller dots. To be honest, this application really didn't need any fancy graphics. That doesn't mean, that this reviewer didn't think that it wouldn't have benefited from some cool images of astrological phenomenon when you open the application. The graphics get the job done and the text on the images is clear.

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    Stars for iPhone is a free app.

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    If you don't want to lug around star charts, or you have no call to own them, Stars is a good application to have. Especially if you are an urban kid who is going out to a rural area for the first time, or if you are just going camping. While I wouldn't recommend using this application for navigation purposes it is both interesting and fun. Provided you have use for it, it is a must download.