App Reviewed on: iPad 3
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I fondly remember how, when I was a little boy of about 6 or so, my dad and I would haul out the telescope on a clear night and try to find all the notable celestial bodies we could. Planets, constellations, the occasional comet; everything was fair game. Back then we used charts, books, and random chance. Now we can use Night Sky 2.
Night Sky 2 is a star-gazer's dream app. The list of features it provides is expansive, and every single one has a purpose. Users can check weather conditions, see if it's overcast, and receive push notifications to help plan ahead. They can check on the moon's phases with a tap. Location technology coupled with the iOS device's accelerometer functions also lets them view the night sky in real time by tilting and rotating the device around their position. There's even an Augmented Reality mode that overlays the display on top of the actual sky, making everything even easier to spot. A new community feature has been added as well, and gives users the opportunity to document and share ideal star gazing locations with each other.
The absolute best thing I can say about Night Sky 2 is that it's incredibly easy to figure out and use. And I sincerely mean that. All it takes to set up is allowing the use of the device's current location. After that users are free to mess around as they see fit. The real time overlays are full of information to absorb (or toggle on and off depending on what the evening's targets might be), and every single named object from constellations to planets can be tapped on to reveal detailed information. Not sure where Mars is? Just enter it into the search field and follow the guide arrow until it's in view. Want to know more about Aquarius? It's in there, too.
There's very little that gets in the way of Night Sky 2's usefulness, however there are a couple of small issues I've run into while using it. Most notably, the app doesn't like to display the names or detailed overlays of more than one constellation at a time. I also found that the subscription requirements for the Community features to be something of a bummer as it feels restricting.
It's a shame that its agruably most useful feature requires a subscription, but Night Sky 2 is still plenty useful (and neat!) without it. It's a fantastic companion app for any star gazing enthusiasts out there.