Distant Suns (max) astronomy app is an award-winning hand-held planetarium with over 25 years of development, offering you the new way to look at the sky from on the Earth to off. Sporting over 130,000 stars, all 8 (or is it 9?) planets, the sun and moon, constellations, galaxies, nebula and star clusters, Distant Suns offers a gracefully visual respite from a busy day.
While others play games, you can travel to the stars.
• Set your location from any place on earth (or leave it off)
• Change the date and time to show the sky of the past or future, like a celestial time-machine in your hands
• Learn the stories behind each constellation
• Follow the moon through its phases, and the planets through their monthly dance
• Unique to Distant Suns (max)You are no longer Earth-bound so you may fly out to the planets and watch them in their stately presence
• Observe Saturn from behind, Jupiter from Io, the Earth from the Moon
• Contains over 200 galaxies, nebula and star clusters, many within reach of binoculars
• Touch the sky to view extensive data on each object
• Perfect for the whole family. The only requirement is sense of wonder!
• Unleash your inner astronaut today
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I used to use the Skywalk app for iPad, but after a few months it got some kind of an update that would never install and the app became non-functional. I was so happy to find Distant Suns Max as the Free App of the Day on January 2, but having used it, I now feel it would’ve been worth buying at the full purchase price of $5.99.
With this app, you can easily identify constellations, planets and other heavenly bodies, specific to your location! When you first start the app it prompts you to allow it to determine your location via GPS, and that’s how it can show you the correct sky map for your part of the world. You can also just manually enter your GPS coordinates instead (it includes instructions for how to find your coordinates and enter them), if you prefer not to enable GPS tracking.
The included tutorial is pretty bare bones and doesn’t explain a lot about how to use the app as a sky map, but it’s easy enough to figure out. When I go out on my patio at night to do a little space exploration, I just find a point of reference (usually the moon) on the Distant Suns sky map, and from there I can easily identify nearby stars and planets by tapping on the matching points of light on my screen. When I do, I’m shown details of the item I’ve tapped.
One night when I didn’t have my Fire handy, I was pretty excited to be able to identify the constellation Orion, the “dog star” Sirius, and a couple of planets with the naked eye, all on my own, thanks to what this app has taught me.
As I swipe around the screen to re-orient the sky map, images that represent the various constellations are overlaid on the map, making it very easy (and fun!) to identify the constellations and also see how they got their names.
Distant Suns Max also serves as a kind of Astronomy textbook, with a whole encyclopedia of information about planets, stars, constellations, galaxies, nebula and star clusters, and some gorgeous artwork and photographs.
The app has a lot of other features that aren’t fully covered by the tutorial (like looking up constellations, planets, etc. by name), but they’re fun and easy to experiment with; just tap on the various menu bar icons along the bottom menu bar, and you’ll be off and running! Getting back to your original sky map is as easy as tapping the Moon icon in the menu bar.
Note that you can also use the app during the day – remember, the planets and stars are still out there, even when we can’t see them in daylight.
Distant Suns Max would be an especially great tool to use with a telescope, since it can provide exact coordinates for something you’re trying to find and can also help identify anything in the telescope’s field of vision.