Available in the App Store

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Cosmographia is one of those apps that is so spectacular, it blows your mind. It is a 3D, real-time, full-service space exploration tool, packed full of information, event views, and stunning graphics.

This app is a work of art. The user is able to explore space in an up close & personal way, moving anywhere with the simple swipe of a finger. In many apps with 360 degree view capabilities, the user has to stay anchored in one spot. In Cosmographia, the user is able to move at will and have a 360 degree view from any location.

The app pinpoints the sun, planets, constellations, moons, dwarf planets, asteroids, and spacecraft. The user can double tap on a destination and zoom to that point, then have a leisurely look around. The app contains a wealth of information about the objects presented, and each destination has several “views” the user can choose from. The views might be certain angles or aspects of the object, a visual of a flight path or event, or some other interactive experience. The app also contains a clock, which can be moved backward or forward to view events that have occurred in the past or will in the future.

The movement within Cosmographia is smooth and flawless. The user can bring up a menu of planets and moons to navigate to. There are several preference settings, so that the user can decide how much, or how little, to see in their exploration. The user is also able to tap the screen to remove all navigation and informational buttons, in order to have a pristine viewing experience with no interruptions.

This app would appeal to anyone with an interest in space or astronomy. Normally, it is a bit of an investment, but as a reference and exploration tool it is worth paying for. At this time, though, the app is on sale – and $2.99 is a steal when it normally retails for $9.99! It is gorgeous to look at, and packed full of educational material. Younger kids will enjoy the realistic views of the solar system, but older kids and adults who can read and process the information provided will probably enjoy the app the most. The only thing about this app that I did not like was that I wanted to see the International Space Station, but couldn’t find it. Spacecraft and other minor objects are not included in the navigation menu, and small objects are hard to find in an app with so much visual input to sort through. I would love to see a search menu or more navigation tools included in the app. If there is a way to locate such objects, it is not specified in the app help section.

The Bottom Line

Cosmographia is a fantastic space exploration app that is simply delightful to use and is brimming with breath-taking visuals and engaging informational material. Immerse yourself in the most realistic and beautiful Solar System simulation available for the iPad.

Cosmographia has been designed with obsessive attention to accuracy and detail. It combines stunning 3D graphics with real data for the positions and appearances of planets, moons, dwarf planets, asteroids, and spacecraft. Fly along with the Cassini mission to Saturn, orbit a giant asteroid or watch eclipses on Jupiter. Everything is drawn at full Retina resolution in the new iPad (and standard resolution on older devices.)

Cosmographia includes descriptions and data for all the objects you’ll visit, so you have the story behind the visuals. All text is original and customized for Cosmographia, full of links that take you to live 3D views of interesting events and spectacular Solar System vistas.

*Navigate freely throughout the Solar System and change the time to observe past, current, and future events.

*Tap the screen to hide the user interface and enjoy perfectly uncluttered space vistas – like looking out the window of a spaceship.

*Experience interplanetary missions, including Cassini, Voyager 1 & 2, Dawn and NEAR.

*Track the current positions of the International Space Station and the Hubble Space Telescope. Zoom in on one of these spacecraft and experience what it’s like to spacewalk in low Earth orbit.

*High resolution maps for all moons and planets visited by spacecraft.

*Detailed models of asteroids and spacecraft with realistic lighting.

*Introductory price for this first iPad version of Cosmographia.