The best astronomy apps are your personal portals to the vast expanses of space. Known to be among the oldest sciences, astronomy has captured the fancy of many for thousands of years. And with the advancement of technology, we have moved far past observing the skies via the pyramids, Stonehenge and even early telescopes used during the time of Galileo Galilei. Now, the mysteries of the universe are all packed into neat little apps that can be enjoyed directly on your handset. No need to port around huge telescopes or make frequent trips to your nearest planetarium to quench your thirst for knowledge based on the far expanses of space and beyond.
1 – Star Walk:
Noted to be a stellar augmented reality app, Star Walk has the ability to label all the constellations, satellites and stars. All you have to do is simply point your handset skywards and the integrated software will take care of the rest. It incorporates a time machine feature which enables you to perceive just what the sky looked like in the past as well as how it may shape up in the future.
Star Walk also includes a calendar of celestial events, night mode and the SpaceX addition. Wondering where Mars might be hiding at this very moment? Well, the in-app arrow guides you to its exact coordinates in the sky. Pictures snapped from deep space can be ported straight to your phone and even to a second display if you want to share your hobby with friends and family.
2 – Space Junk Pro:
The Space Junk Pro is up next on our astronomy apps list. And don’t be fooled by its name as this software offers many interesting things that are certainly far from the literal meaning of junk. It is a star, constellation and planet viewer as well as a satellite tracker. Fashioned for Android powered tablets and phones, the app displays the Hubble Space telescope and the international space station as well as solar system computations. While a planetarium sky map view allows you to tag satellite flybys, planets, stars, its Earth counterpart shows a ‘you are here’ marker, day/night shading and satellite viewing bands. Go social with your findings thanks to the inclusion of Facebook integration which enables you to publish the satellites you’ve spotted and update your favorites list.
3 – Starmap Pro:
The Starmap Pro claims to put the ‘power of a professional sky atlas packed with 2,500,000 stars right in the palm of your hand.’ By exploiting the iPhone compass, it aptly captures the precise slice of the sky you want to know more about, on your handset. The Featured section points out any special objects currently orbiting in your area, while the Logbook and Alarm offering are a great to track your findings and get alerts for special events, respectively. There is also detailed information pertaining to individual galaxies, nebulae and clusters. It further includes a moon phase calendar and moon map that boasts of 9900 references.
4 – Google Sky Map:
Sky Map from Google simply could not be left out of our astronomy apps lineup. One of the most popular names for reading the stars on a virtual platform, this software from the Mountain View based company enables Android phone and tablet owners to easily spot various celestial bodies and aptly identify them. You will be able to spot the scientific names and garner information about various constellations, planets and stars.
This app is great for porting along while trekking through dense, secluded forests, or even overnight camping trips. You can easily impress your friends by pointing out the exact locations of Orion, the Great Bear and other such constellations.
5 – SkySafari 3 Pro:
With more than 15.3 million stars picked from the Hubble Guide Star catalog as well as 740,000 galaxies and 550,000 solar system objects under its belt, the SkySafari 3 Pro has much to offer the average stargazer. And like the Star Walk app, this software option also shows you the past, present and future sky apparitions. Furthermore, you can soak up all this interesting data via your Apple iPhone, iPod touch or even iPad. There are 1100 encyclopedic descriptions of the planets and stars as well as 800 images from the Hubble Space Telescope, NASA space missions and even the world’s famous astro-photographers. It hoards other attributes like a Night button and Time Flow as well as SkyWeek, the mobile version of the Sky at a Glance column, which provides daily interactive sky charts.
6 – NASA App HD:
If you’re a sky gazer in possession of an Apple iPad then we strongly suggest you download the NASA App HD. Taking complete advantage of the device’s 9.7-inch LED backlit widescreen display, the application dishes out a plethora of images from NASAImages.org, APOD and NASA IOTD as well as on demand NASA videos and live streaming of NASA TV.
Now, you can even acquire all the current NASA Mission data, countdown clocks and launch information, NASA Twitter feeds and quick links to the NASA topic areas. This entrant in our astronomy apps will surely make you exclaim, ‘Houston, we’re all clear for takeoff, Destination: iPad.’
7- Moon Phase Pro:
After being star-struck by the many aforementioned options that offer a little more insight about planets, constellations and stars, we now have an interesting app that concentrates on Earth’s natural satellite. We are talking about the Moon Phase Pro which is available for Android devices. 3D interactive display and 3D simulation of the moon are what you can expect from this offering. It points out every possible detail pertaining to this enormous space rock, like the shadows in the craters and earthshine on the dark side. You can simply insert the desired date or location to obtain the crescent angle, phase, nearest syzygies and rise/set times. Staring up at the moon will no longer be the same with this app sitting snuggly in your handset or tablet.
The options strewn across our best astronomy apps list will certainly appeal to all you stargazers out there who have always wanted to purchase a high-end telescope. Besides just being your window to the celestial skies, these applications offer you so much more. And there seems to be no shortage of software options in either the App Store or Google Play. However, we have blazed through the internet and brought you the 7 finest choices out there. Did we cover your favorites or are there still a few we’ve missed out on? Do let us know.