Star Walk for iPad is a powerhouse for teaching Astronomy
Stargazing apps were originally created for the iPhone, but because of the iPhone’s small screen the vibrant graphics of weren’t able to be fully appreciated. Fortunately, Star Walk and Pocket Universe, two very popular astronomy apps have been updated for the iPad and are readily available for download.
Star Walk is an award–winning education astronomy app created by Vito Technology, a member of Moms with Apps. They are a group of family-oriented app developers that seeks to create good quality apps for families and children. Star Walk makes learning very appealing and exciting-much better than just a PowerPoint. Students can identify and locate more than 20,000 objects in the night sky including stars, constellations, satellites, planets and galaxies from anywhere on planet Earth.
Star Walk’s principal features
- Augmented reality for iPad 2, iPhone 4, and 4th generation iPod touch
- Satellite tracking – Ability to track satellites including the ISS.
- Star spotter – it has a real-time motion tracker that will tell you which stars are over your head
- Search capability – If you want to see where Venus is, an arrow will point it to you
- Picture of the day – spectacular pictures from outer space
- Time machine- You can view past and future skies any time you want to
- Night mode – for better star viewing at night
- Big screen – You can connect the device with a wide screen for a bigger view of the sky
- TELRAD – A superior feature that allows you to gauge the distance between stars
How to use Star Walk
When Star Walk’s digital compass is activated and your students point their iPad at the sky, the screen of their iPad will be filled with a clear image of the night sky and all the stars in the constellation. They can view the entire star system by tilting their iPad in any direction – to the left then they see heavens on their left. Their iPad screen goes along exactly with their body movement. It is as though the students are viewing the real stars. They can even view past or future night skies.
Another plus is that students can also acquire information about all the different celestial bodies such as the planets, constellations and the moon and choose any location from 3-D earth manually. It has been recently updated with a spectrum bar that allows all students to view the sky in various regions or wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum, that includes X-Ray, Gamma Ray, H-alpha, Visible Light, Microwave, Infrared and Radio. They don’t even need to connect it with the internet to get this feature.
Star Walk in Education
Students at Hawaii Preparatory Academy are among the many who are working with Star Walk. Seeing and learning about the night sky and the star systems in a highly interactive way creates immediate learning to many in a way that has never been possible. Through the time machine and search function, students can discover constellations in a way that was never possible before.
Interactive education is a great way for students to learn, and this app delivers a truly interactive star system. Many educators are now introducing apps such as Star Walk into the classroom to enhance the education experience, and to keep students engaged and interested.