Starry Night Apollo Review

Imaginova has introduced a special version of its Starry Night astronomy software. Starry Night turns your Mac into a digital observatory, allowing you to view objects in the night sky from wherever you are on Earth. However, this new Starry Night Apollo offering is a separate program that shows you outer space from the perspective of the astronauts who flew on NASA’s key Apollo missions in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Apollo spacecraft were the first US manned vessels to take people from the earth to the moon. Small when compared to modern space shuttles, each Apollo spacecraft had room for three astronauts. With Starry Night Apollo you can share the astronauts experiences and sights by joining the Apollo 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17 missions from the comfort of your Mac.

You can trace inbound and outbound trajectories and lunar descent/ascent trajectories for each of the missions. The software uses data published by NASA, so the simulations are as accurate as possible. The software includes 3D models of Apollo spacecraft.

Starry Night Apollo displays the voyages to the moon with software graphics that show the flight paths for each trip as well as the motion of the moon.

The inclusion of actual photographs of earth and the moon – taken by the astronauts during the missions – is a bonus.

Some of the communications from the spacecraft and Mission Control are included as text, but we would have preferred to hear the actual voice recordings instead of reading the transcripts: “One small step for man,” and so on.

We found watching the rotating moon with all Apollo landing sites marked for easy reference enlightening, and the images of the rotating earth below were beautiful. Watching the moon recede as Apollo 10 returned home was impressive, but nothing compared to watching the surface of the moon rotate beneath the orbiting Apollo 10 spacecraft. What really floored us was seeing the same skies and constellations the Apollo astronauts saw as they stood on the surface of the moon. This software will delight anyone with an interest in history or spaceflight.

OUR VERDICT

Starry Night Apollo brings back the days when astronauts were heroes and they risked life and limb during every aspect of the mission. Fun, educational, and a great way to see how early spacecraft made the (as yet unrepeated) treks to the moon and back.

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