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’.

Odessa, a short film, music by High Skies

Odessa, a short film by Cidney Hue, with music by High Skies.

BEST Narrative Short – Chain NYC Film Festival 2013
BEST Director of a Short – Chain NYC Film Festival 2013
BEST Sci-Fi Short – Atlantic City Cinefest/Downbeach Film Festival 2013

After a year of film festivals, Odessa, is now available to view in full and download on Vimeo and YouTube.

Music: High Skies – The Earth at Night

More info at

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…

Gas and High Skies Tours Added to Worldwide Telescope

We’re pleased to tell you that wwttwo Gas and High Skies tours have been added to Worldwide Telescope. WWT is a virtual telescope that allows you to explore the universe through the lens of Hubble, Spitzer and others, without leaving your computer.

Universal Beauty
A tour of the beautiful. Music is Gas – Microscopic. You can download the tour here (which will open WWT and play automatically once its downloaded. 5mb), or you can find it from within WWT at…
Guided Tours>Galaxies>Universal Beauty.
Universal Beauty has already become the top rated galaxies tour!

V838 Light Echo
An animation of the supernova of Monocerotis V838 using time-lapse Hubble images taken over four years, to the music of High Skies – The Shape of Things to Come. Note that it’s not the dust cloud that is moving, it’s the light from the supernova expanding and lighting the dust cloud as the it travels through it – a light echo. We recommend letting it play through once to cache all the images.
You can download it here (3mb), or find it from within WWT at…
Guided Tours>Supernova>V838 Light Echo.

Both are free downloads.
Feel free to rate them :-)

Whoever said ‘In space no one can hear you stream electronic music’?

 *requires an installed copy of Worldwide Telescope, which is a small and free download from

NOTE: PC and Bootcamp version only.
There is currently a bug in the alpha code of the WWT web client that makes the five minute Universal Beauty tour turn into a seventeen minute full length feature film, and the rapid HD animation of the V838 tour becomes a little  too flickery currently, but stay tuned.


New Images of Moon Landing Sites

NASA has just released new images taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) of the original Apollo Moon landing sites. Some even show the astronauts tracks when carrying out their surface experiments.

lroc_apollo11 lroc_apollo15
The Lunar Landers highlighted with a shadow from the low Sun.

Apollo 14. You can just about make out the astronauts tracks in the dust.

Apollo 14. Enlarged view.
Continue reading New Images of Moon Landing Sites

NASA TV: Live from Space Shuttle and ISS

To mark the 40th anniversary of the first Moon landing, we have NASA TV, live from Space Shuttle Endeavor (STS-127).

Click to play. All the usual controls; full screen, mute, volume, pause…

It will be docking live with the International Space Station, and the crew will be moonwalking performing five spacewalks and complete construction of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Kibo laboratory.
At the time of the 40th anniversary they will be playing back the audio from the Apollo 11 mission in full and in real-time.

Note that it doesn’t have audio all the time. Those silent exterior shots of the Earth rotating slowly are just crying out for some ambient music. Briano Eno – Apollo?

Works well in full screen…


NASA Spacesuit 2.0

NASA and Paragon are designing a new spacesuit.

Paragon has received authorization to begin work on NASA’s Constellation Space Suit System (CSSS). Paragon is beginning this work on the first major space suit redesign in over 40 years. Paragon is responsible for the design and manufacture of the suit’s life support and thermal control system. The first suits will support the debut flight of the new Orion spaceship, currently planned to launch in 2015. With modifications, the suit will go on to be used exploring the surface of the Moon and Mars.



To watch the two-part video and interview visit Engineering TV