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Stellarium

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Pretty Fine!"

    November 6, 2011  |   By Bruce Mills

    Version: Stellarium 1.5

    Pros

    Where do I begin? At first acquaintance it appears to be everything the desktop version is, but of necessity pared down in content and options, to fit the teeny iPhone screen though, initially, the difference appears scant.
    Stellarium coupled with the iPhone's gyro selected is quite wonderful now. This of course, is a 'one-up' on the desktop version. Better also in many respects to an AR star app' that uses the iPhone's camera to view the sky, usually with mixed results as the cam' cannot resolve the fainter stars. Additionally, the facility to zoom and scale to your perspective or otherwise is a boon.
    Stellarium's characteristic realistic 'atmosphere' rendering is still awesome even in this tiny format.

    Cons

    1: When, perhaps accidentally, you select an object (often!) there appears to be no obvious key or swipe/gesture to rid the screen of the irksome and over-wordy info' layer which obliterates most of the sky in the top left quadrant of the screen. On top of which - when outside, it's unreadable anyway. Even indoors, on top of a rich background of stars and nomenclature it's still unreadable. The annoying (to me) info' layer more properly belongs, I feel, in the settings dialogue as an option.
    2: Considering we have the 'Retina' display screen, the name lettering of the planet/constellation/stars is way too fat/bold. Also the font could be a point or two smaller.
    3: Similarly with the ecliptic/meridian lines. Just a tad too fat.
    4: Now, having whinged about the overbold lettering and lines I find that the cardinal points are too faint!

    Summary

    Additional Con: 5: An additional on-screen key would be handy were it to function as a +/- brightness control of the lettering/lining/con' art and would be a nice touch. Similarly, a stroke or key to speed up the stellar motion forwards and backwards.
    Perhaps I wish for too much! It may be obvious I have no idea of the effort that the developers put into making all this work, but, believe me, I'm grateful.
    Despite my list of 'cons', I think Stellarium is one of the best totally free app's to had. We inhabit a very fortunate age now to be able to conjure such magic stuff out of the air in an instant.

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