Not a long time ago, astronomy was considered ‘expensive’. From telescopes to sophisticated machines, it took a fortune to pursue your special hobby. But, in the 21st Century, the technology has surely helped us to get things done. We use our smart phones to do our daily chores, from getting news updates to an extensive chit-chat with our dearest friends. But, as an astronomy lover do you know that you can always do a little more with your phone.
Yes, there are many interesting astronomy apps for your iOS and Android device that will help you to find the locations of various stars, planets, satellites and space stations and much more. This list comprised of both free and paid apps for a wide variety of options.
Man must rise above the Earth-to the top of the atmosphere and beyond – for only thus will he fully understand the world in which he lives. – Socrates.
15. Satellite Augmented Reality
If you like to track satellites rather than other heavenly objects, then Satellite Augmented Reality is the perfect app for you. Only available at the Android store, the app gives you the power to track and locate satellites orbiting our earth. It has an extensive database from which you can select the satellite you want to track and then it will show you its position.
14. Star & Planet Finder
Put your camera to work. To use Star & Planet Finder on your iPhone, first you have to choose a planet or a major star from an inbuilt directory, with your camera facing the night sky, move your device according to the pointer display, the pointer will lead you towards the desired planet. Although, the app is free, you can always unlock various planets and stars with in-app purchases.
13. ISS Detector
Here is a question, can we see the ISS with the naked eye?. Well, with appropriate location and ISS Detector sure you can. This cool Android app can notify you in advance with an alarm, minutes before the ISS fly by over the horizon. Also with in-app purchase, you can track other Space objects like the Chinese Tiangong space station and the Hubble space telescope.
Starmap offers you valuable information on more than 2.5 million stars and including all the 110 Messier objects, and Abell galaxy clusters. The app is stacked with many cool and handy features. To start with, suppose if you don’t know what to look for, or you just want space news, you can get it all with just one click. The “Tonight” feature will bring you one step closer to the planets, galaxies, clusters or nebulae. With this app, you can also familiarize yourself with asteroids as it provides up to 500, 000 asteroids including many Dwarf planets.
11. Pocket Universe
Pocket Universe is a great app for beginners. With this, you won’t take much time to learn the names of constellations, bright stars, planets and other heavenly bodies. All you have to do is hold up your iPhone or iPad, facing the night sky and the app will use the built-in compass to display the stars and planets with names and labels. Pocket Universe also has quizzes to enhance your learning process.
10. SkEye | Astronomy
While staring into the night sky, have you ever wondered, what objects exactly are you looking at? With SkEye, now you can get familiar with thousands of stars, planets, and constellations. This app can also help amateur astronomers with telescopes by providing PUSHTO guide for easy navigation. SKEye comes with a time machine feature which enables you to foresee the future or relive the astronomical events in the past.
9. Deluxe Moon HD
Available in seven different languages, the Deluxe Moon HD is a beautifully designed and organized app that gives you all information you need about the moon. It combines traditional lunar maps with up-to-date technology to give you feature rich content with flair.
Comprehensive moon information, advice based on the current moon phase, precise times of the moon phases, animated Zodiac circles, moon horoscope and calendar, sunset and sunrise times, lunar and solar eclipses are only some of its features that you should definitely try.
With the help of SkySafari you an simulate the night sky from anywhere on Earth many years in the past or in the future with it’s cool Time Flow feature. Using NASA spacecraft and Hubble telescope’s data, the app provides you with fresh images of planets and their moons. It also tells you about upcoming eclipses and meteor showers.
7. Sky Map
Originally developed as Google sky map, Sky Map app uses data from devise inbuilt compass and GPS to precisely track and identify the desired celestial object. To find an object you just have to put your camera facing the night sky and the app will lead you to the sky patch you should be looking. You can also use ‘time travel’ feature to find out where the object of your interest will be at later that night.
6. Solar Walk
Solar Walk is a free interactive space encyclopedia. It provides detailed and visually attractive 3D model of our solar system that allows you to easily navigate through the night sky and explore planets in real time. You can get detailed information on any desired planet, stars, asteroids or comets with high resolution images and galleries.
5. Distance Suns
This app provides over 130,000 stars, all 8 planets, constellations, galaxies, nebula, star clusters and contains over 200 galaxies, all in your pocket. With this app you can not only observe and learn about our solar system and galaxy but many other distant galaxies. It’s is your perfect companion when you are searching in the wilderness of the night sky.
4. Night Sky Lite
At the end of the day, it’s all about stargazing. This app comes with an impressive stargazing experience and can identify many heavenly object just like other apps, but, what separates the app from others is its strong community that suggests great stargazing locations across the world. On top of that, it also checks weather conditions for the coming night so you know if it is a night worth staying up for stargazing.
SkyView uses state of the art Augmented Reality (AR) system to locate different space objects weather it is day or night. It gives you valuable information of constellations and stars, about their paths and provides you with the names of the visible bright lights. Want to share something you like? You can share space images with your families and friends with popular social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
2. NASA App
Want to get up-to-date info on NASA’s ongoing and future missions? Then this is the app for you. This amazing app will not only keep you in touch with NASA’s latest missions, but also provide you with thousands of unseen space images. You can also enjoy the live streaming of NASA TV from your cell phones.
1. Stars Chart
If you love astronomy and like to discover something new every time you gaze into the night sky, you should have this app on your device. With state of the art GPS technology and virtually accurate 3D universe, the Star Chart gives you the current location of every major star and planet visible from Earth.
With all the 88 constellations, the entire Messier catalog of deep sky objects and a powerful Time Shift feature that allows you to unravel 10,000 years of history and future, it is perhaps the most powerful app for star gazing.