City dwellers don’t get a good view of the night sky. About the best we can hope for on a clear night is a good view of a full moon. If you’d like to see the entire solar system but close up and in stunning detail, spend a dollar on Solar Walk, the 3D solar system model app for the Mac.
Starting from the earth and the solar system, Solar Walk lets you zoom out to view the entire galaxy (as much of it as we’re able to view). Many of earth’s satellites can be seen with their real-time trajectories.
Choose one of the planets in the solar system (Pluto is still there, although it’s been downgraded to a rock) and zoom in for a closer view. Or, back off the earth and then look at the earth and moon from a different view.
Solar Walk has all the details about a planet, including name, radius, distance to the sun, mass, and more.
There’s a built-in Time Machine option, too. Simply slide the time scale and the sky begins to move in time. Or, click the year, month, and time and change them to a date in the past to see how planets and stars align.
It’s very difficult to beat Solar Walk’s 99-cent price tag, but you’ll need a pair of cyan-red 3D glasses to see the 3D effects.