Review: Exoplanet (iPhone/iPad) A True-to-Life Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

photo 1Exoplanet is one of those special pieces of software that enlightens you to exactly how insignificant, yet miraculously ingenious the human race is.

Released as a free, ad supported app ($1 in-app purchase for ad free version), Exoplanet quite simply is Google Earth for the entire Milky Way galaxy. The giddy wonder of pinching and swiping through the cosmos with your finger is indescribable. Honestly, if you have enough interest to have read this far, do yourself a favor and go download it now, tap Milky Way on the main menu and come back once your jaw returns to its normal position. It is choppy on earlier iDevices, but still well worth the $0 admission. Heck, it would be worth a $10 price of admission!

Our galaxy not enough? A $1 in-app purchace lets you zoom out further to view entire galaxy clusters and the microwave background.

photo 4As if a fully 3D map of the galaxy wasn’t enough, this app has much, much more. Exoplanet’s easily searchable database contains every planet known to mankind and is overflowing with data on all of them: Telescope pictures, visualizations of habitable zones, sky charts, orbital animations, and links to 50,000 scientific publications using NASA’s Astrophysics Data System and Simbad. You can even create a correlation diagram, scale it using standard iOS gestures, and email it as a PDF file. Below is just a fraction of this app’s data on a planet we’ve been talking about a lot, the super-Earth Gliese 581d:

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Need more? Exoplanet is not just pretty and smart, she’s state of the art! Created and curated by professional astronomer Hanno Rein, Exoplanet its own newsfeed integrated. Push notifications will alert you to the discovery of new planets. iOS 5 Twitter integration allows you to broadcast your favorite planets, pics, and graphs.

Exoplanet is a tribute to the knowledge and understanding mankind has collectively achieved, the technology we have produced, the generosity of a talented scholar, and, of course, the awe inspiring majesty of our universe.

Be sure to check out Hannon Rein’s website The Visual Exoplanet Catalogue upon which this app is based.

Exoplanet is a universal app and available for free via iTunes. Reviewed on iOS 5.0 iPad2 and iOS 4.2.1 iPod Touch 2nd gen.

Reviewer Rating: 5/5 Stars – Must Have 5star

1 comment :

  1. ...and if I had found that blasted YouTube vid first instead of last I could have saved myself a whole lotta fumbling for words ;)