Starmap Media has been awarded the 2014 Hot Products designation from the editors of Sky & Telescope, one of the world’s leading astronomy magazines. To celebrate the occasion, the producers of Starmap are making all Starmap Media stories available free of charge from December 17, 2013 to January 31, 2014. This makes the third award in three years for the well-respected and growing family of Starmap astronomy applications. Starmap was first named a hot product by Sky & Telescope in 2010, and the editors wrote in their original review, “The original Starmap planetarium app for Apple’s iPhone so wowed us that it was one of our Hot Product picks for 2010!”
In 2012, Astronomy magazine recognized Starmap’s excellence by naming it one of their specially selected Star Products for 2012. “Being honored for the third time is very gratifying,” said developer and Starmap CEO, Dr. Frederic Descamps. “When we founded the company in 2008, at the opening of the AppStore, we never imagined where it would take us. To have these major astronomy publications recognize our apps and the role they play in helping users learn astronomy tells us that we’re doing something right. These awards tell us we’ve created apps users will rely on for many years.”
Starmap stories are designed for use under the real night sky, allowing the celestial sphere to support the story in real time. As the story plays, the app guides the user to spot locations in the sky overhead. With Starmap Media, the night sky becomes a starry stage for mythology, culture, and science.
If the weather isn’t good or users want to surf the sky from indoors, they can experience the stories in “couch mode” Starmap Media offers more than seven hours of interactive animations and narration to tell stories about dozens of sky objects visible to users. Narration, music, and visuals all come together in a series of 30 elegantly designed presentations accessible at the tap of a finger. Users who have experienced Starmap Media say it’s like having a star chart and a personally guided planetarium show in the palm of your hand.
Each Starmap Media story was written by science writer and astronomy media producer Carolyn Collins Petersen. The scripts were narrated by veteran voice actor Jon Mohr, and Frederic Descamps produced and integrated the results into the app.
Starmap Media is a free app and comes with two stories: a tutorial and a guide to the sky called “The Sky Tonight.” There are 30 additional stories available as in-app purchases for only 99 cents each. In each story, which is keyed to a specific time of year and portion of the sky, the narrator talks about the scientific and cultural importance of stars, constellations, and deep-sky objects visible. The stories are charming and educational, and make excellent lessons for astronomers of all levels. They are grouped by level: beginner, intermediate, and expert.
For a limited time, users can download Starmap Media stories for free. “It’s our way of thanking users who have supported us over the years, and introducing ourselves to new generations of users. We especially would like to have educators and youth group leaders try out the app and tell us what they think,” said Descamps. “We know that people will love learning the sky with these stories, and we look forward to hearing from them as they explore.”
Since the launch of the original Starmap App in 2008, and featured by Apple at the opening of the AppStore, Starmap has now released several astronomy apps for users at all levels in astronomy. They are constantly evolving with the new devices and operating systems.
In an app market full of short lifetime apps, Starmap has built a user community that appreciates its scientific content and instant user support by astronomers passionate about sharing a love of the stars. Starmap uses the same extensive astronomy databases that professionals and advanced amateurs rely on. Each one features millions of stars, all known comets and asteroids, more than 15,000 deep-sky objects, and easy-to-use navigational controls. “Starmap apps are not “use once and forget” kind of apps,” said Descamps. “These apps appeal to users at all levels. They range from educators, youth groups, and outdoor enthusiasts to serious amateur and professional astronomers. Anyone who has ever looked at the night sky and dreamed of exploring it will find our apps a way to achieve their dream.”
Based in Grenoble, France, Starmap was founded by Frederic Descamps in 2008. Starmap is the first handheld, interactive, planetarium mobile-application that lets you discover the night sky with realistic maps and detailed factual information. Starmap has been featured many times on the App Store since its first version. Frederic Descamps is a professional astronomer and has been practicing in the field since his youth. He holds a PhD in electronics/physics engineering, with a thesis on the electronics of particle detectors, including those at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, and DESY in Hamburg, Germany. Descamps started the Starmap mobile application as a hobby, which has now turned into a business. Copyright (C) 2013 Starmap. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.