The study of celestial objects was long considered an expensive ordeal. All those who were drawn to observing the skies closely as part of their favorite pass time ritual were left high and dry. However, with the unveiling of the latest technologies, the modern day star gazers have lots to cheer for.
You now have the luxury of downloading free stargazing apps on to your Android or iOS powered devices and you are all covered.
You can effortlessly witness and enjoy all the activities that are happening up in the blue sky with a simple tap on your mobile screen. What else do you want?
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Simply download any one of these 24 apps to stay abreast with the heavenly activities that intrigue you in a number of ways.
1. Stars Chart
Topping the list of astronomy apps that is all set to make waves in 2018, Stars Chart is a stargazing app that is compatible with both Android and iOS platforms.
The very fact that it is patronized by 30 million stargazers across the globe speaks volumes about its efficiency. After you download this app on to any one of your phones, you simply need to point your device at the sky.
In a jiffy, the Stars Chart app names what you are observing up in the scintillating skies. To top it all, you will have all the real-time statistics concerning the current distance of every visible planet and star from the Earth.
- Eliminates the need to scroll around the screen to find out what you are looking at
- Ideal for armchair astronomers
- Let’s you view the night sky while holding your device at any angle
- Contains the complete Messier catalogue of 110 exotic deep sky objects
2. Sky View
All set to excite the visual senses of ardent star gazers, Sky View is another noted astronomy app that is compatible with the iOS platform.
You can download this app on to your iPod, iPhone or iPad to view constellations, stars and satellites, with a simple tap on the screen.
This app employs the modern Augmented Reality (AR) system that helps you locate a number of cosmic objects, irrespective of whether it is day or night.
Through this app, you will be in a position to accumulate invaluable information about different stars and their constellations. To top it all, you can even get to know the names of the brightest stars that are visible to the naked eye.
- Saves your night vision with red or green night mode filters
- Let’s you use your camera to spot objects in the sky, day or night
- Data signal or GPS is not required for functioning
- Supports Space Navigator binoculars, spotting scope and telescopes
3. Distant Suns
When Distant Suns, the Android or iOS compatible astronomy app is in your hands, you can take pride in the cosmic information concerning the 13,000 stars, their constellations, star clusters and the 8 planets.
This app magically shows up more than 200 galaxies so that you can better understand the solar system and far-off galaxies. Distance Suns will be your best friend to unveil the enigma of the night skies.
- Sets your location from any place on Earth or off
- Changes the date and time to show the sky of the past or future
- Includes over 200 galaxies, nebula and star clusters, many within reach of binoculars
- Ideal for the whole family
4. NASA App
If you are looking to lay hands on the latest happenings with NASA and its future space missions, you can bank upon the aptly named NASA app.
This astronomy app which can be downloaded on to your Android or iPhone presents invaluable information about the latest developments in NASA along with a host of incredible and unseen space images that will thrill you beyond words.
Tagged as an informative and educational app that will excite astronomy students and space lovers, the NASA app in 2018 will present news extracts, feature stories, videos and tweets regarding the global space agency.
- Displays ISS and Earth orbiting satellite trackers
- Saves images to your device, so that you can use them as wallpaper for your lock or home screen
- Let’s you easily share everything with your friends on social media
- Offers live streaming video from the High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) experiment on the ISS
5. Pocket Universe
Aptly titled Pocket Universe, this is an iOS-powered astronomy app that is best for amateur star gazers who will be thrilled to carry their universe in their pockets.
With this app in your hands, you will be able to learn the names of all the celestial objects along with constellations, planets and stars of the Milky Way.
The app comes with a built-in compass that sets into action once you place your iPhone to the night sky.
Through the compass, you will be in a position to watch the planets and stars in action along with their labels and names. This app comes with a host of infotainment quizzes that sharpen your astronomical knowledge.
- Supports augmented reality views that put the solar system in your living room, or all around you with 3rd party stereo headsets
- Tracks the International Space Station, and predicts sightings
- Easy-to-use astronomy application, which helps you answer the question “What’s that in the sky?”
- Tells you how long every day is and tracks changes over the year
Download : iOS
6. ISS Detector
International Space Station (ISS) Detector is another noteworthy astronomy app that is compatible with your Android phones.
Once you download this app, you will be thrilled to see the Chinese space stations Tiangong 1 and Tiangong 2 through your naked eye.
The only prerequisite is to have a clear sky to spot the bright flashes of the Iridium Communication Satellites.
You will also be able to track the number of weather satellites along with sharing the cosmic sights via social media platforms like Twitter and WhatsApp.
- Helps you discover when and where to look for the International Space Station or Iridium flares
- Sends a notification a few minutes before a pass
- Checks if the weather conditions are right
- In-app purchase allows you to add comets and planets, amateur radio satellites and famous objects, like the Hubble space telescope or Rocket bodies
7. Star & Planet Finder
With the Star & Planet Finder on your iPhone, you can enjoy the enigmatic night sky views on your palms. You will be thrilled to see stars, satellites, constellations and planets in the sky.
Augmented Reality (AR) is the technology that makes it possible for the app to work in tandem with an in-built camera, accelerometer, compass and GPS.
Once installed on your iPhone, this app provides information about the planets, the Sun and the Moon. Astronomy fans will be thrilled to lay hands on invaluable planet-specific information like their descriptions, their distances, masses and diameters.
- Ideal for astronomy fans
- Offers satellite tracking map
- Augmented Reality(AR) display that guides you to the chosen star
- Comes with compass, GPS, accelerometer, camera and clock aware
Download : iOS
8. Night Sky Lite
After a long day at work, you will surely love to relax watching celestial objects. Tagged as an AR guide to the blue sky above us, you can download the Night Sky Lite iPhone astronomy app and enjoy indescribable stargazing experiences.
While you will be able to view many celestial objects, you will be in a favorable position to enjoy beautiful stargazing locations from across different parts of the globe.
- Powerful AR personal planetarium
- Customizes your notifications in Night Sky
- Allows you to get a live tour or create your own tours for any location and time in the world
- Pull planets, stars and constellations out of the sky and allows you to look at them in AR
Download : iOS
9. Solar Walk
All those stargazers who love to dig into the ocean of celestial knowledge concerning the stars, planets and the Solar System now have an astronomy app that is compatible with both Android and iOS platforms.
All these appear to you in the form of captivating 3D images that can be zoomed and rotated in any direction.
Through this app, you can enjoy a closer look at the Solar system while you begin to explore the cosmic objects in real time.
- Allows you to find an exciting view of the Milky Way Galaxy
- Allows you to choose the view mode comfortable for you to easily find and explore planets and stars, satellites, dwarf planets, asteroids, comets and other celestial bodies
- Let’s you share interesting screenshots of the app with your friends
- Makes virtual flights from one space object to another
10. SkySafari 5
Named as the latest version of the world’s top astronomy app, SkySafari 5 has lots in store for ardent sky watchers in 2018.
With every object supported by a description, you will be thrilled to witness the progression of an eclipse that has occurred in the past, that which is happening at the moment or the one that is slated to take place in the future.
This app, which is compatible with both Android and iPhone can help you locate the Sun, Moon and the Mars along with the scintillating views of stars and planets like Saturn, Jupiter and Venus.
- Let’s you see galaxies, constellations and more in stunning and vivid detail
- Allows you to watch animated meteor showers with complete viewing information & spectacular graphics
- Preserves your eyesight after dark
- For the ultimate stargazing experience, the star chart updates automatically with your real time movements
Download : Android
11. SkEye | Astronomy
The next time you are curious about what is happening up in the enveloping blue skies above us, that is when you should down the Android-powered SkEye | Astronomy app.
With this app in your hands, you will be able to enjoy the scintillating presence of planets, stars and constellations. You also have the luxury of watching Messier objects along with a long list of 180 bright celestial objects that revolve in the sky.
- Let’s you jump to any date in past or future
- Real time Alt-Azimuth and Equatorial coordinates
- Solar system objects including all 8 planets and the 4 Galilean moons
- Search with a guiding arrow
Download : Android
True to its name, Heavens-Above is an astronomy app of 2018 that allows you to explore the much-talked –about heavens which are high above the sky.
Through this Android-compatible app, you will be able to locate the International Space Station (ISS) while enjoying the view of satellites orbiting close to the Earth.
- Allows you to get detailed information about any satellite
- Let’s you get a visual overview over passes and animate the position of satellites on the sky chart and on the ground track
- Allows you to easily find or identify any object in the sky by orienting your device towards it
- Let’s you quickly add interesting passes to your calendar
Download : Android
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13. Stellarium Mobile Sky Map
When you have the luxury of enjoying the sight of cosmic objects through a simple app, you would definitely not want to burn a hole in your pockets by investing in a telescope. The Stellarium Mobile Sky Map exactly does this for you.
Without calling for heavy investments into expensive sky-viewing instruments, you can simply download this app on your Android phone and watch the celestial events through a simple tap on your screen.
- A catalog of over 600,000 stars displayed as a real time zoomable sky map
- A catalog of many nebulae and galaxies with pictures
- Asterisms and illustrations of the constellations for several sky cultures
- Artificial satellites, including the International Space Station
14. Satellite Augmented Reality
An Android app that helps you track satellites can also provide the much-needed sky-watching experience to astronomy lovers.
So, if you are in the mood to exclusively track satellites, you can download the Satellite Augmented Reality app. Through this app, you will be able to locate the exact position of the satellites which are revolving around the Earth.
- Helps you track satellites and also provide the much-needed sky-watching experience to astronomy lovers
- Helps you locate the exact position of the satellites which are revolving around the Earth
- Satellites in sunlight are colored yellow to help you look for them on a clear night
- Allows you to track the locations of various satellites
Download : Android
15. GoSkyWatch Planetarium
The GoSkyWatch Planetarium is an astronomy app of 2018 that is exclusively designed for your iPhone. With this app in your hands, you will be able to effortlessly locate and recognize constellations, galaxies, stars and planets.
All you need to do is to simply point this app to the screen. Viola! You will be able to unravel the mysteries of the night sky through this small and effective personal telescope.
- Easy to use
- Designed exclusively for efficient outdoor use
- Touch free identification
- Popup images
16. Solar System Explorer 3D
If you have an Android smartphone and are an ardent lover of astronomy, you can check out the Solar System Explorer 3D app.
This is a befitting app that can lend a helping hand to students of astronomy along with professional astronauts.
It supports 3D images teamed with incomparable sound effects, helps you to explore the space and enjoy the enigmatic images of a number of celestial objects.
You will be thrilled to view the moons, the different planets and asteroids that have the expansive sky as their home.
- Ideal for students of astronomy and professional astronauts
- Supports 3D images teamed with incomparable sound effects
- Helps you explore the space and enjoy the enigmatic images of a number of celestial objects
- Allows you to see the moon, the different planets as well as asteroids
Download : Android
17. Star Tracker – Mobile Sky Map
The last in the list of amazing stargazing astronomy apps but definitely not the least is the Star Tracker – Mobile Sky Map app that allows you to explore the universe which is up above.
Once you download this Android-compatible app and point it to the night sky, you will be able to see various cosmic objects including the stars and their beautiful constellations. A whole lot of 8,000+ stars can be viewed through the naked eye.
- Fits all screen sizes from 3.5 inch to 12 inch for any resolution
- Sun, Moon, Planets in Solar System, 88 Constellations and 8000+ stars visible to the naked eyes
- Auto hides all menus and enters AR track mode when you point your device to the sky
- All data is offline
18. Cosmic watch
Cosmic watch is an interactive and easy to use 3D tool. This app is a real-time world-clock, time-travel machine with astral chart generator & solar system simulator. As the clock face is set around the Earth’s ecliptic, it allows you to see celestial bodies moving with us.
- Real-time World Clock
- Sky guide
- Time Travel
- Celestial Navigation
- Astronomical Events
- Astral Chart
19. Sky Map
This app was developed by a team from Google and the main feature of the app is that it allows users to know more about the outer space directly from their phones.
To use it, you just need to open the app, point the camera towards the sky and then just wait for the magic to happen. After a few seconds, you can see constellations forming up on your screens where you can learn their names, positions, etc.
- Versatile & easy-to-use
- Has an effect of mini-planetarium
- Users can view stars, constellations, galaxies, planets, Messier objects in regular/special night mode
- Includes the time travel feature
- Assists you with self-direction, academic development and much more
Download : Android
20. Star Walk 2
The app features crisp Retina graphics with augmented-reality style HUD that renders the sky over live camera feed, responding precisely to the movement of your device without requiring an Internet connection.
- Real-time motion tracking
- New point of view
- Accurate daily data regarding the moon phase, time of sunset, sunrise etc.
21. Sky Guide AR
This sky guide app makes stargazing more simple and user-friendly. Users just need to hold it overhead so that the app automatically find stars, planets, constellations, satellites etc.
- Consists of a huge stellar catalog
- Includes filters which X-ray the sky and explore invisible wonders
- Has red night mode which helps you protected from dark-adapted eyesight
- Has a notification centre widget
- Can be integrated with Apple Watch: S
- Has incredible high definition zooming features
Redshift, an app mainly for iPad users is one of the best of its kind that we’ve come across.
On the whole, the app has a planetarium view, which showcase stars, constellations in the same direction your iPad points towards. It also includes feature that cato send 3D virtual voyages across the solar system
- Can discover celestial objects
- Users can browse more than 100,000 stars, 70,000 deep sky objects, 26 moons 16 comets, 500 asteroids, planets and dwarf planets
- Detail representation of deep sky objects with 3D graphics effects
- Consists of night vision mode and additional panoramas, background sounds etc.
This app mainly focuses on satellite tracking for iPad, iPhone & iPod. It can be used to track and predict visible satellites that pass through the sky. The overhead sky view that is seen in the phone shows what is in the sky at your current location.
- Real-time satellite tracking
- Get satellite pass predictions
- Instant notifications
- Supports landscape/portrait orientation
- Get orbit data updates in one touch
- Time Control features with night vision mode
Download : iOS
24. Mobile Observatory
This app doesn’t just support a live, zoom able sky map which tells you but provide loads of detailed extra information about stars, planets, comets, deep sky objects, asteroids, lunar, solar eclipses and much more.
This free to download app in Android and iOS is recommended for beginners, amateur astronomers, stargazers, kids and students
- Zoomable sky map
- Interactive top-down view of the Solar System
- Calendar showing celestial event descriptions
- Update database online
- Automatically generated visibility report
- Intuitive User Interface
- Can maintain favourite locations as lists
- Automatic location determination
- Accurate calculations for dates between 1900 & 2100
Download : Android
There are plenty of inquisitive learners out there who are willing to the go the extra mile to assimilate information from the universe that lies above us.
As an exciting aid to all such curious lovers of astronomy, you can check out the above described Android and iPhone apps that will satiate their quest for astronomical information concerning stars and other celestial objects.