Hot Apps: SkyMap Pro 11 - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

11:30 AM

Hot Apps: SkyMap Pro 11

Explore heavenly bodies (of the celestial kind) with awesome power, speed, and intuitive ease of use.

Serious and more casual astronomers alike will find SkyMap Pro 11 a wonderful app. It even is an excellent resource for high school and college students. I’ve watched the product mature during much of its 20 or so years of development.

What impresses me the most is that SkyMap presents an incredible data set and visual displays so instantaneously and easily that you can perform most of your astronomical research on a whim. “Instantaneous” fairly described the product’s responsiveness, even during a torture test on a Windows 98 testbed with just 64 MB of RAM…and this app has a huge database these days. Pursuing most of my personal whims, I didn’t even need to look at the help file, though that does contain extensive details when you want them.

SkyMap lets you view planets, stars, constellations, comets, asteroids, and more, then lets you use menu bars and toolbars to view the results from many perspectives. In short, click-click to see sky images the way you want to see them.

The product displays the sky from the viewpoint of any location on Earth for any date from 4000 BC to 8000 AD. You can check out views from the entire visible sky to a detailed, telescopic look at a faint galaxy. You can zoom in and out, and rotate a display to suit your inclinations.

You can display more than 15 million stars as faint as magnitude 15. SkyMap’s database includes more than 200,000 deep-sky objects. You can annotate your maps with text labels, lines or arrows, and more.

More advanced features include a search tool for the millions of objects in SkyMap’s database and the objects’ detailed information (which you can copy into other apps, such as word processors and email programs). The path of moving objects can be drawn and labeled with the date and magnitude at specified intervals -- great for asteroid and comet charting. Asteroid positions can be computed using free downloadable databases updated daily from Lowell ASTORB and Minor Planet Center’s MPCORB.

The awesome list of features goes on. And, based on my testing, accessing them is intuitive even for those of us who are amateurs. Click-click and you’re there. Often, there isn’t even enough time to pour your next cup of late-night caffeine … and you’ll find yourself curling up with many late nights with SkyMap as you gaze out your window at the sky.

SkyMap Pro 11
The Thompson Partnership
Price: $129.95
Summary: SkyMap Pro makes exploration of the skies a joy for serious astronomers and older students alike

J.W. Olsen has been a full-time IT author, columnist, editor, and freelance book project manager with more than 1000 editorial credits since 1990, and has provided computer, Web site, and editorial services to clients since 1985. He welcomes feedback via the response form at

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
State of the Cloud
State of the Cloud
Cloud has drastically changed how IT organizations consume and deploy services in the digital age. This research report will delve into public, private and hybrid cloud adoption trends, with a special focus on infrastructure as a service and its role in the enterprise. Find out the challenges organizations are experiencing, and the technologies and strategies they are using to manage and mitigate those challenges today.
COVID-19: Using Data to Map Infections, Hospital Beds, and More
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  3/25/2020
Enterprise Guide to Robotic Process Automation
Cathleen Gagne, Managing Editor, InformationWeek,  3/23/2020
How Startup Innovation Can Help Enterprises Face COVID-19
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  3/24/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
IT Careers: Tech Drives Constant Change
Advances in information technology and management concepts mean that IT professionals must update their skill sets, even their career goals on an almost yearly basis. In this IT Trend Report, experts share advice on how IT pros can keep up with this every-changing job market. Read it today!
White Papers
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll