In the Shops

The lat­est books, apps, soft­ware, tech and ac­ces­sories for space and as­tron­omy fans alike

All About Space - - Contents -

Our pick of the best books, apps, soft­ware and ac­ces­sories for as­tron­omy and space fans

“They de­liv­ered ex­cel­lent pin­point views of stars across their 50 de­gree field of view”

Book Columbus in Space

Cost: £8.99 From: Euro­pean Space Agency / Penguin Books

Some­times it is easy to for­get that the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion (ISS) is not purely a NASA af­fair, but it is a truly global project, as this book from the Euro­pean Space Agency (ESA) and Penguin Books re­minds us. It tells the story of the ISS’ Columbus mo­d­ule, built by ESA and at­tached to the space sta­tion in Fe­bru­ary 2008 in a pro­ce­dure that took 12 days and 18 hours.

The prose tells us to think of Columbus as a fly­ing sci­ence lab­o­ra­tory con­duct­ing dozens of ex­per­i­ments each year in such var­ied fields as fluid physics, phys­i­ol­ogy in space, so­lar mon­i­tor­ing, hu­mane bi­o­log­i­cal re­search on an­i­mals and plants, mi­crom­e­te­oroids and Earth ob­ser­va­tion.

The Columbus mo­d­ule cost 1.4 bil­lion Eu­ros to com­plete, and among the many facts pre­sented in this an­niver­sary book, is the fact that 5,161 peo­ple have been in­volved in Columbus’ sci­ence ex­per­i­ments over the last ten years. A great in­tro­duc­tion to Columbus, which al­lows many more peo­ple to learn about how the ISS is do­ing sci­ence in from Earth or­bit.

Ac­ces­sories Ex­o­planet v 17.1.0

Cost: Free From: iOS

Highly vis­ual and in­ter­ac­tive, Ex­o­planet al­lows you to keep up to date with the lat­est dis­cov­er­ies of alien worlds. Devel­oped by pro­fes­sional as­tronomers, this app fea­tures a stun­ning 3D model of our galaxy, re­veal­ing the lo­ca­tions of all known ex­o­plan­ets. We en­joyed the zoom func­tion, which al­lows the user to get a close-up ‘view’ of plan­e­tary sys­tems. If you’ve ever won­dered what the night sky looks like from these alien worlds, then you’re in luck: Ex­o­planet pro­vides such a fea­ture, as well as a push no­ti­fi­ca­tion when an­other world is found and where you can find these ex­o­plan­ets in the night sky in real time.

Es­sen­tially a cat­a­logue or data­base of dis­cov­er­ies, Ex­o­planet pro­vides de­tailed in­for­ma­tion on ev­ery con­firmed world in a vis­ual way. The graph­ics aren’t mas­sively de­tailed, but given that it’s clear which ex­o­planet you’re ob­serv­ing at any one time this didn’t af­fect our ex­pe­ri­ence. The app has been con­sis­tently re­vised and im­proved, fix­ing any bugs that af­fect the run­ning of the app. How­ever, de­spite be­ing in its 16th ver­sion the app still con­tin­ues to crash, forc­ing us to shut our de­vice down on sev­eral oc­ca­sions. This be­came quite frus­trat­ing after the sev­enth time of restart­ing the app.

Soft­ware Starry Night Pro

Cost: £38.99 (ap­prox. $50.00) For: Win­dows, Mac

Dubbed the ‘most re­al­is­tic’ as­tron­omy soft­ware, Starry Night Pro cer­tainly lives up to the hype. Its graph­i­cal per­for­mances as well as its huge pack­age of op­tions that con­tain ev­ery­thing the se­ri­ous as­tronomer needs make this a must to own by those keen on the won­ders of the night sky.

Starry Night Pro, which is avail­able for Mac and PC, comes with a wide se­lec­tion of ob­jects – in­clud­ing 16 mil­lion stars, over 19 mil­lion ob­jects up to mag­ni­tude 15 as well as 73,197 gal­ax­ies. Of course, Starry Night Pro is also mas­sively ed­u­ca­tional and, pro­vided you have Ouick­Time in­stalled on your com­puter, users can watch a wide se­lec­tion of movies, in­clud­ing sky an­i­ma­tions, planet fly­bys achieved by NASA mis­sions and rocket and space­craft launches. This as­tron­omy soft­ware also al­lows you to travel be­yond the So­lar Sys­tem in 3D up to 700 mil­lion light years away and cre­ate plan­ets with cus­tomis­able sur­face de­tails and satel­lites. You can also go back or for­ward in time by 99,999 years to ob­serve the sky and track as­ter­oids and comets.

Given its mas­sive amount of data, Starry Night Pro re­quires a com­puter with a large amount of RAM and hard disk space. If this doesn’t worry you and you have had an in­ter­est in as­tron­omy for a long time then we strongly rec­om­mend this pro­gram.

Ac­ces­sories Sky-Watcher SP Plössl eye­pieces

Cost: £20-£29 From: First Light Op­tics We think that a te­le­scope is of­ten only as good as its eye­piece, but the best ac­ces­sories can some­times cost al­most as much as the te­le­scope. Find­ing af­ford­able, high-qual­ity eye­pieces is an im­por­tant task, and SkyWatcher’s range of SP Plössl eye­pieces, with fo­cal lengths rang­ing from 6.3mm to 40mm, fit the bill.

Plössls con­tain two sets of two lenses, known as achro­matic dou­blets, which help set them apart from stan­dard eye­pieces that may get lumped in with your te­le­scope pur­chase. When test­ing these 1.25-inch eye­pieces on a six-inch f/4 re­flec­tor we were pleased with their per­for­mance, which de­liv­ered ex­cel­lent pin­point views of stars across their 50 de­gree field of view. The Moon re­vealed ex­cel­lent clar­ity and bright­ness, with no ap­par­ent dis­tor­tion or spher­i­cal aber­ra­tion. The eye­pieces feel solidly con­structed, with the larger eye­pieces in the range ben­e­fit­ting from rub­ber grips, though we imag­ine you might end up drop­ping the smaller eye­pieces from numb fin­gers dur­ing cold win­ter nights. Glasses-wear­ers, how­ever, may find that the SP range lacks ad­e­quate eye re­lief, even on the longer fo­cal length eye­pieces.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.