Sky Guide wins Apple Design Award

Sky Guide -Apple Design Award 2014

At this years WWDC 2014, Apple awarded Sky Guide an Apple Design Award!

As well as a demonstration of the app on stage and presentation of the special cubic trophy (made from solid unobtanium and glows when you touch it), Apple featured Fifth Star Labs on their site.

Sky Guide -Apple Design Award 2014

Apple App Store Badge

I was lucky enough to be involved with another Apple Design Award winner, the excellent game Osmos by Hemisphere Games, which also features my music as High Skies.

Sky Guide gives you Predator vision

Sky Guide -wavelengths

A recent update to Sky Guide boosts your superhuman powers to let you see in different wavelengths, from x-ray to microwave.
The above pic shows you three different iPhone screens; The first shows the sky with a hydrogen alpha filter (exclusive photography by Fifth Star Labs own Nick Risinger); the third shows the sky in x-ray wavelength; and the middle one displays both at the same time via the loupe.

Sky Guide -wavelengths 2

Further wavelengths showing the visible, infrared and microwave spectrums.
The example images are displaying the same patch of sky for comparison, and each wavelength covers the whole sky and can be rotated and swiped as normal. Note how they gives us different information, building up a fuller picture than any one spectrum.

1 In the top right example, the spectrum is set to X-Ray; tap-hold the display to bring up the loupe (middle image).

2 Rotate the loupe’s nib to switch between spectrums. Here we’ve settled on hydrogen alpha.

3 You can change the size of the loupe by dragging its edge.

4 Tap away from the loupe to dismiss it, or in this case, expand with a smooth swipe to make it fullscreen.

5 Tap the ‘i’ button for an article about the current wavelength.

6 To get back to the more usual visible spectrum, tap-hold to bring up another loupe and switch it to ‘visible’.

Sky Guide, music by High Skies

Sky Guide

Sky Guide is the new star gazing app from Nick Risinger and Chris Laurel, with music by High Skies.

Sky Guide - photorealistic
Nick has been featured in Wired and on BBC Horizon as he travelled the globe taking 37,000 photographs of the night sky for this app. Point your iPad or iPhone at the sky. day or night, and it will align itself automatically showing you the perfect sky through an expensive lens and without light pollution.

Click on a star or planet and you will be able to hear it. The hotter the star, the higher the pitch; the larger the star, the louder the volume. You will be able to ‘play the stars’. All music and sounds created by High Skies using an ARP Odyssey and ARP Solina; the astronomically long reverb was created by convoluting lengthy lightning recordings.

Sky Guide - info
Click on any star, planet, galaxy, nebula or constellation and there are hundreds of cross-linked articles and images, with interesting facts and mythologies.

Sky Guide, created by those awfully nice & clever chaps,  Nick Risinger and Chris Laurel.

Out now for iPad and iPhone at the launch price of 69p / $1…

Space Shuttle and ISS Cross the Sun

French astronomer Thierry Legault has taken some amazing images of the Space Shuttle crossing the Sun whilst docked with the International Space Station.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

The ISS is travelling at 25000 kmh and took just 0.7 seconds to cross the Sun. He started taking four pictures a second, two seconds before it was due to cross the Sun. Distance to the ISS – 500km, distance to the Sun – 150000000km.

Some more pictures he took in May this year of the Space Shuttle crossing the Sun…
Continue reading Space Shuttle and ISS Cross the Sun

Comet Lulin: Visible by Naked Eye

Comet Lulin is coming this week, and it may well be visible by the naked eye, or at the least with a pair of binoculars. We’ve made a Lulin skymap to make finding it as easy as finding a needle in a needle shop.

Lulin skymap, click to enlarge.
Map created with images from Worldwide Telescope 

Comet Lulin, named after the Lulin Observatory in Taiwan that discovered it in 2007, will be at it’s closest to Earth on 24th Feb, just 38 million miles away (Mars is 34 million miles away at its closest).

On 23rd Feb it will be 2 degrees below Saturn (about 4 moon diameters).

To find it, use our sky map above (click to open). Find The Plough (or Big Dipper) in the night sky, which is shaped like a saucepan, follow the two inner stars of the saucepan down (yellow line) till you hit the bright-ish star of Regulus. You’ll know when you hit Regulus because it forms the bottom of a backwards question-mark, also known as The Sickle (of Leo). Diagonally down to the left is the bright yellowish light of Saturn, and it should be equivalent to four moon diameters below it. Look for a greenish fuzzy patch, perhaps with a slight tail. By the 27th it will be just half a degree (one moon diameter) below Regulus, which may be easier to find.


Comet Lulin (C/2007 N3) has a gaseous atmosphere the size of Jupiter and is made up from poisonous cyanogen gas, which gives it its green colour when sunlight hits it in a vacuum.

It may still be visible all next month as well, but this week it will at its closest and brightest.

Watch the High Skies…