Looking up at the stars can be a beautiful and relaxing experience, but it isn’t always easy to tell what you’re looking at. Sure you can identify the Big Dipper and maybe the North Star but what if you could see exactly where all the planets are? With these five apps you can. Become an astronomy expert for free.
1. Star Chart
Put your phone up to the sky and see exactly where you’re looking at, regardless of what kind of day it is. Move your phone around to see different parts of the sky and how things change at certain times of day. You can even get information about each constellation. Learn where Andromeda got it’s name or find how close you currently are to Pluto.
It wouldn’t be an astronomy round up without mentioning NASA. Get beautiful photos of space right from the men and women who took them. Look at mind-blowing photos and videos, get updates about the current missions and even see what people are Tweeting all in one place. The app is updated really regularly so it is the perfect place to get a dose of space.
Like Star Chart, you can hold your phone up to the sky at anytime and see what is above you. Move around and see all the constellations you can see. There is a paid version of this app that comes with an info pack about all the constellations, stars and planets and a mini telescope. However, for someone that just wants to identify what is up above even when the sun is up, the Lite version is perfect.
If you’re like me, photos of space are absolutely mind-blowing. Seeing something that doesn’t exist on Earth is an eye-opening thing, and Astronomy Picture of the Day brings new and exciting images every day. The main menu shows one beautiful photo and you can tap it to get an explanation of what it is. Go to the gallery to see all the ones you may have missed in the past, or skip to a date if you want to see what was posted on your birthday or anniversary.
SkyPortal is one of the most realistic star simulator. Hold it up to the sky and see what is right above you. You can look at just the stars or opt for illustrations to outline the images. Skip ahead to different times of the day and week to see what will change and you won’t miss your favorite planet or constellation. Turn on the night vision at night so you don’t hurt your eyes and use the compass to ground yourself wherever you are.