- How do you manage to fit an entire solar system onto a screen?
Solar systems are huge, so in order to get it all to fit while keeping the orbital ellipse as accurate as possible, planet sizes and orbital distances are scaled using logarithms. This spreads out the planets close to the star and packs the distant planets together.
- Pluto isn’t a planet, why is it included?
Ceres isn’t a planet either, but it’s in Solar Explorer because it’s over 200KM in radius. At that size a body has sufficient gravity to form a spherical shape, which is the only criteria that is used to determine what appears in Solar Explorer. The only exceptions to this rule are Deimos and Phobos, and any other objects deemed worthy to appear in this app.
- Why do you sometimes refer to Solar Explorer as Solar System Explorer?
In early July Google played around with the search functionality of Android market, breaking it. This meant that for a while, Solar Explorer would only come up in search results amongst apps that related to solar panels, unless it had the word “system” somewhere in the title.
- Why aren’t pictures of the planets included?
I’ve had to make an executive decision on this one and decided not to include additional photos of the planets and moons. If I were to include photos, then they would have to be added in HD resolution to support large screen devices which would cause the size of the app to bloat to monstrous proportions, making life even harder for HTC owners and others. On top of that, some of the market places where I list the app on have a fixed file size limit which would be exceeded by such a modification.
- Why doesn’t Solar Explorer do…?
Got an idea? Feel free to contact me.
- I’ve found a bug!
Please, please, please let me know here, not on Android Market! This goes doubly for those of you who post those annoying “problem x, uninstall” messages on Google’s comment system. There’s over 600 devices that run Android and nobody on the planet has one of each to test their apps on. If you help me fix it, you’ll get a better app in return.
- I’m seeing problems with ads in the free version!
I’ve had a number of people report this as though they think the app is supposed to have ads covering everything up. It’s not and I can’t reproduce it, so I don’t know why it’s doing it. Actually, I don’t even know what the problem looks like. Unfortunately, the people reporting this pull the “problem x, uninstall” manoeuvre and disappear leaving me no way to find out more because of Google’s poor market comment system.If you see problems with ads covering up text, then please report it on this blog. The app isn’t supposed to do that!
- Why do I keep getting payment issues or download issues?
Google’s systems are full of bugs. The paid and free versions of Solar Explorer are also available on SlideMe, a much friendlier marketplace. Unfortunately, I’ve no control over payments or downloads, so it’s all Google’s fault if something goes wrong.