Not a long time ago, astronomy was considered ‘expensive.’ From telescopes to sophisticated machines, it took a fortune to pursue this particular hobby. But the technological advancement in the 21st century has undoubtedly made things much more manageable.
We use smartphones to do our daily chores, from getting news updates to 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 several astronomy apps that you can use to unleash your inner astronomer. These apps can help you find the locations of various stars, planets, satellites, and much more. Below is a list of both free and paid astronomy apps that you can try.
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.
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16. Star Rover – Stargazing Guide
Star Rover is a great app to learn about constellations. To use it, you need to point your smartphone towards the sky, and it can give you a pretty good idea of what you’re looking at.
After learning about your current position, the app helps you identify planets, stars, moons, and constellations within the area of its view — the app updates in real-time as you move your smartphone in different directions.
Star Rover can identify more than 120,000 stars, all 88 constellations, and stores information about many Messier objects as well as the Milky Way.
15. Star & Planet Finder
Put your camera to work. To make use of the Star & Planet Finder app on your iPhone, you first need to choose a planet or a 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.
14. Cosmic Watch: Time and Space
Cosmic Watch is an AR-assisted 3D planetarium that allows you to explore and study stars, constellation, and the entire solar system. The app comes with a clock, using which you can go back in time (on in the future) to understand how time affects the location of astronomical objects. It can also calculate or predict major astronomical events.
The app offers layered information and separate view modes for the solar system, including the heliocentric and geocentric view. It can be best used as an educational tool to get a basic understanding of the field.
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 flyby over the horizon. Also, with in-app purchase, you can track other human-made objects such as SpaceX Starlink and the Hubble space telescope.
Starmap offers you valuable information on more than 2.5 million stars and 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 supports up to 500 000 asteroids and many Dwarf planets.
11. Pocket Universe
Pocket Universe is a great app for beginners. This app is great for learning the names of various 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.
The app can also help amateur astronomers with telescopes by providing a PUSHTO guide for easy navigation. SKEye comes with a ‘time machine’ feature that 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 much-need flair.
Comprehensive information on the moon, precise timings of the moon phases, animated Zodiac circles, moon horoscope, lunar, and solar eclipses are some of the many features that make the app trial worthy.
With the help of SkySafari, you can simulate the night sky from anywhere on Earth many years in the past or 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 the Google sky map, the app uses data from your device’s 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 it will lead you to the patch of sky where you should be looking in. You can also use the ‘time travel’ feature to find out where the object of your interest will be at a later time.
6. Solar Walk
Solar Walk is a free interactive space encyclopedia. It provides a detailed and visually attractive 3D model of our solar system that allows users 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.
5. Night Sky Lite
Night sky Lite comes with an impressive stargazing experience that can help you identify many celestial objects, just like other apps. But, what separates the app from others is its strong community that suggests great stargazing locations across the globe. 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.
4. DSO Planner Plus
DSO Planner Plus is an advanced astronomy planning application, which can assist you in locating stars and other deep sky objects in the night sky. The app not only has an extensive database on celestial objects but allows users to create their own set of object databases as well.
The app supports several major star catalogs, including USNO UCAC4 and Tycho-2, and can identify close to 700 comets and over 10,000 brightest minor planets.
You can also import DSS (digitized sky survey) images of any part of the sky and use it on the app’s star chart.
SkyView uses state of the art Augmented Reality (AR) system to locate different space objects, whether it is day or night. It gives you valuable information on 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
Platform: iOS /Android
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 the 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 stargazing.