SkyMap Free released for Windows8

by Administrator 13. December 2012 00:23

We're glad to announce that SkyMap Free was released for Windows8 platforms.

It can be installed from Microsoft Windows8 store website from this link:


The popular Windows Phone SkyMap application, downloaded by more than half of million users, now comes to Windows 8!
SkyMap Free is an amazing planetarium for your device. It enables you to point your device at the sky and see what stars, constellations, planets or deep space objects are out there in real time.

SkyMap Free shows the sky in 3D, like you see it at night time exposing a collection of over 110000 stars.

It’s very easy to use for any viewpoint, time and location on Earth: it determines your location automatically, supports pinch to zoom for more details and provides a highly customizable map.

SkyMap Free has a full set of features in order to help both casual stargazers and amateur astronomers to explore and locate the objects in the sky.


  • interactive zoom
  • night mode
  • touch screen support
  • realistic Milky Way image and horizon
  • stars twinkle
  • constellations with beautiful Johannes Hevelius’s artwork
  • constellations, stars, deep space objects, planets, sun and moon information
  • fast loading and initialization
  • point to sky mode
  • improved sky map graphics: planet images, star colors, diffraction spikes, etc
  • sky object information (wikipedia integration)
  • alt/az grid



SkyMap 1.5 Gets Mango Update, Adds Compass Support

by Adrian 5. October 2011 20:46

We’ve just published SkyMap 1.5, which is the first update that targets Windows Phone 7.5 (also known as mango). This update adds the most wanted feature – compass support!  It is the feature that we wanted to add right from the first version, but it just wasn’t possible on the previous versions of the Windows Phone OS.

How to use the compass

Please make sure that you are away from magnetic interferences. Large metal objects, power wires, magnets, speakers, etc. can affect the accuracy of the compass.

When you launch the new version, expand the application bar and click on the enable point to sky item. The first time you may get a Compass Calibration screen. Follow the instructions as indicated on the screen, until the status at the bottom says “Complete”.

From our experience, the compass calibration may take quite a while (especially when done the first time). Take your time, have patience and it will eventually get calibrated.

For more information about using the point to sky feature, please refer to the help page included in the application (you can find it in the application bar).

What’s new in SkyMap 1.5

  • Compass support
  • New sensors bar, that replaces the navigation bar in the point to sky mode
  • Fast app switching
  • The system tray respects the night mode theme (the system tray is setting is available only in the full version of the app)
  • New night mode button in the quick settings bar, to make it easier to switch the night mode on and off
  • The point to sky mode now supports the pinch to zoom gesture
  • The show more/less stars now offers a wider range of values to better match the sky you see in your area
  • Reorganized some of the items in the quick settings bar and the application bar

This update requires Windows Phone 7.5 (mango).

This update also includes the improvements we made in SkyMap 1.4 (which is also available for Windows Phone 7.0). You can find more information about the SkyMap 1.4 update here.

SkyMap 1.4 now available

by Adrian 3. October 2011 19:34

The main change in this update is the new look for the UI bars (setting bar, zoom bar, compass bar), which makes them similar to the standard application bar; they are now expandable and each button has a small description that explains what it does. We also made all buttons circular (instead of rectangular). All these changes should make the UI bars easier to use than before.

SkyMapExpandableBars    SkyMapExpandableBars_Expanded

Here is the full list of changes in this update:

  • Improved bars
    • rounded buttons
    • expandable
    • each button has a label
  • The Pluto fans should celebrate, as Pluto is now supported and displayed on the map
  • We added a few new settings:
    • Planets – show always (on by default) – when set, it shows planets always, no matter the zoom level
    • Messier – shows always (off by default) – when set, it shows the Messier objects always, no matter the zoom level
  • The labels for constellations in night mode now use a slightly different color
  • Various performance improvements
  • Fixed an issue that was happening when running on Windows Phone 7.5: clicking on the wikipedia link (in the object info pane) was loading an empty page

This update is available for both Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 7.5.

SkyMap Free and AstroPix released to marketplace

by Administrator 21. June 2011 08:02

Our SkyMap trial application is fully functional (it's just a few steps behind the full SkyMap application: it is ad based and has few small limitations). But we understand there are windows phone users out there not willing to install a trial version - despite the fact there is no price or risk involved.

So, as a solstice summer gift to the world, we've decided to release 2 FREE applications:

SkyMap Free - similar to SkyMap trial version (except the picture of the day feature)

AstroPix - astronomy picture of the day based on website

Here are the application detailed description:

1. SkyMapFree

SkyMapFree provides interactive sky maps for any time, viewpoint and location on Earth. It shows the different names, coordinates, magnitude, astronomical rise and set times plus additional information for over 110000 stars, messier objects, planets, sun and the moon.

SkyMapFree has a full set of features in order to help both casual stargazers and amateur astronomers to explore and locate the objects in the sky:
- interactive zoom
- night mode
- gesture support
- constellations, stars, deep space objects, planets, sun and moon information
- autocomplete search function
- fast loading and initialization
- support for portrait and landscape orientations
- map rotation mode
- point to sky mode (beta)
- flashlight, map orientation lock and other improvements
- help page
- improved sky map graphics: planet images, star colors, diffraction spikes, etc
- sky object information (wikipedia integration)
- new quick settings bar (star density selection, flip map)
- alt/az grid
- additional customizations (show/hide map layers: planets, stars, messier objects, etc)

2. AstroPix

Imagine a beautiful clear summer sky. Look up and discover the beauty of our universe… Have you ever looked through a telescope? Do you enjoy the breathtaking pictures taken from terrestrial or outer space telescopes? Look no further and install AstroPix!
Based on the NASA APOD (Astronomy Picture of the Day) website, Astropix is a friendly daily astronomy picture viewer. APOD features each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
The free AstroPix application offers a full set of features, delivering a great integration between the APOD website and the rich and compelling UI of the Windows Phone platform.

AstroPix features:
- Lists the recent pictures published on the APOD website
- Image viewer in both landscape and portrait modes
- Last viewed picture displayed as application background (using panorama control)
- History of viewed images with large thumbnails and description
- Search by name, description or date
- Select a specific date, random date, today, etc
- Image/photograph full explanation and information
- Full screen display
- Image zoom (to small or large dimensions) by pich or double click

Sky Map Online - Implemented Features List

by Administrator 27. January 2011 10:02

- The original porting of my application (and stripping down the client specific features)
- Find a domain name and hosting solution
- Come up with an optimization for picking the right objects when dealing with a high zoom level
- Create the web interface
- Location support – find location by IP or by a specified address, city or zip code
- Deal with a googlebot issue – it crawled my staging (testing) website “obscuring” my production server
- Determine client local time zone
- Make the size of the skymap customizable
- Display constellation name
- Messier list
- Create customizable toolbar and navigation controls (in javascript)
- Object information and search
- Support for more than 1 million objects from Tycho2 catalog
- Draggable map: use tiles, move all map logic from server to client, actually a complete redesign to support a better user experience
- Moon and planetary data - calculate dinamically their RA/Dec coordinates
- Rise and set times
- 3D effect for sky map borders (use gradients)
- gradients for bright stars (to look like spheres)
- replace gif with png files to support transparency
- label improvements (tranparency and more info)
- Alt/Az and RA/Dec data in labels
- AltAz grid and telrad
- move the website from Montreal to Houston
- clean up the keywords, meta tags, etc
- UI redesign - no more controls clutter on top - now replaced by expandable menu
- site navigation controls on left side - prepare to add more information and move my astronomy blog on this site
- handle the mousewheel (zoom on mousewheel)
- options to show/hide constellation names and constellation lines
- Share map (sky map links to be shared with friends or saved locally for future use)
- Sky Map (menus and controls) translated to Spanish, German and Romanian (localization based on the browser language)
- publish all 88 Constellations maps (Constellation section of this site)
- crete a site map (to be used by search engines)
- Comments page - users can add comments directly on this site
- HTML5 Sky Map basic implementation - the map is created on the client side and, the overall experience should be better (faster load time, hover support, better zoom experience, etc)
- recognize the constellation trivia game
- Main page tweaks - more stars displayed at high zoom levels
- release of SkyMap for Windows Phone 7 (wp7.aspx page added to this website)

SkyMap Timeline

by Administrator 27. January 2011 10:00
  • Dec 2007 – I got a “junk” telescope, a hobby killer from a local supermarket. I had a lot of troubles to find the brightest astronomical target (our moon) and especially to keep it in my field of view; in a few days I got rid of the telescope convinced that the next telescope (if ever) will be a motorized one
  • Dec 2008 – got my serious telescope (more details on my astronomy section of my blog) – it was a small goto refractor and I started to enjoy deep space objects; I finally got hooked by the “astronomy” bug
  • Jun 2009 – I’ve started to create Spica application - a planetarium software (Windows .NET client application) – I’ve never really released it due to various factors
  • May 2010 – Started the implementation of Sky Map Online website by reusing some of my Spica Windows application source code
  • Jun 2010 - Finished the first version of Sky Map Online website and had it hosted on a permanent server
  • Jun 2010 - present - Different site improvements and development of new features (HTML5 page, constellation data and game, website tweaks, comments page, etc)
  • Jan 2011 - Release of SkyMap for Windows Phone 7 application

Month List