There is something about applications that combine augmented reality and space, it’s like the two technologies go hand in hand and were made for each other. pUniverse is probably my favourite augmented reality applications around at the moment. It’s great when you see something bright in the sky and wonder what it is, it covers planets, constellations, nebulas, if it’s in space pUniverse probably has it.
There are a few applications that show the locations of man made satellites (eg the location of the DirectTV satellite). While these applications are designed to help you install a satellite dish they are horrendously expensive, one actually cost £11.99 (around $17.99).
There are cheaper alternatives, one of which is Hidden Sky. Hidden Sky is a new iPhone application that bridges the gap between astronomy and satellite tracking for a reasonable £1.79 ($2.99). Unlike similar applications, Hidden Sky covers all the planets and over 1000 man made objects, you can see where they are located now, or at any time in the future.
I did a quick test from my back garden and was pretty impressed, it almost nailed the sun spot on.
Knowing the location of H-2A R/B probably isn’t that exciting, but the database of 1000+ objects can also be filtered to the reflect the brightest objects, including the International Space Station, the Hubble Space Telescope, or even recent rocket launches. If you are lucky you could see a rocket docking with the ISS above you.
There are other similar applications in the iPhone/Android stores, do people use these or are these types of application an evolutionary dead end?