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5 amazing astronomy apps

We spend so long looking down at our phones and tablets we can easily forget to look up to marvel at the wonder of the night sky. To right that wrong, here are five of our favourite apps for checking out the stars in the sky.

Man and woman stargazing in a field at dusk. The man is looking through binoculars whilst the woman is looking through the telescope.

Shot from a low angle to get the silhouette effect.

We spend so long looking down at our phones and tablets we can easily forget to look up to marvel at the wonder of the night sky. To right that wrong, here are five of our favourite apps for checking out the stars in the sky.

Star Walk ™ 2 – Guide to the Night Sky to Watch Stars, Planets, Meteor Showers & Constellations

Apple: iPhone4 / iPad2Wifi / iPad23G / iPhone4S / iPadThirdGen / iPadThirdGen4G / iPhone5 / iPodTouchFifthGen / iPadFourthGen / iPadFourthGen4G / iPadMini / iPadMini4G / iPhone5c / iPhone5s / iPhone6 / iPhone6Plus / iPodTouchSixthGen / – Download – £2.29

The original Star Walk was widely regarded as one of the best astronomy apps available on the star-gazing scene, and Star Walk 2 brings with it a much more modern-looking interface. The augmented-reality star gazer is still the main feature of this awesome app, but there’s also plenty of extra information available for users to explore as well as the fantastic ability to tour different parts of space in amazing 3D. One of the best choices for intrepidly exploring the galaxy in 3D from the comfort of your own home.

— 4/5

 

Pocket Universe: Virtual Sky Astronomy

Apple: iPad2Wifi / iPad23G / iPhone4S / iPadThirdGen / iPadThirdGen4G / iPhone5 / iPodTouchFifthGen / iPadFourthGen / iPadFourthGen4G / iPadMini / iPadMini4G / iPhone5c / iPhone5s / iPhone6 / iPhone6Plus / iPodTouchSixthGen / – Download – £2.99

Packed with features and with a slew of awards to its name, Pocket Universe uses your device’s camera to identify or find anything in the night sky. Explore the solar system with a few taps as well as take walks on the surface of the Moon or Mars. Plus there’s quizzes, news and astronomy tips. Pocket Universe has an exhaustive set of advanced features but is still accessible enough for complete beginners to use.

— 5/5

 

Mobile Observatory – Astronomy

Android: Varies with device – Download – £3.95/$4.99

The interface could use a fresh lick of paint but nevertheless Mobile Observatory is hugely impressive: there’s a pile of different screens to work through and many different options on each one. As well as the night sky viewer there’s a wealth of information on planets, asteroids, stars and upcoming celestial events. It’s one of the most comprehensive astronomy apps we’ve come across, with plenty to explore.

— 4/5

 

Star Chart

Apple: iPhone4 / iPad2Wifi / iPad23G / iPhone4S / iPadThirdGen / iPadThirdGen4G / iPhone5 / iPodTouchFifthGen / iPadFourthGen / iPadFourthGen4G / iPadMini / iPadMini4G / iPhone5c / iPhone5s / iPhone6 / iPhone6Plus / iPodTouchSixthGen / – Download – Free
AndroidVaries with device – Download – Free

Very well designed and free to boot (with in-app upgrades available), Star Chart follows the same augmented-reality approach to astronomy with extra information and features arranged on the side. Take off for a virtual journey through the stars, pull up info on different planets and constellations quickly, and go forwards or backwards through time. Star Chart is a nicely presented and information-packed astronomy app, plus it’s free to get started.

— 4/5

 

SkySafari 4: Journey into Night! Explore Sun, Moon, Mars, Stars, Satellites, and NASA space missions!

Apple: iPhone4 / iPad2Wifi / iPad23G / iPhone4S / iPadThirdGen / iPadThirdGen4G / iPhone5 / iPodTouchFifthGen / iPadFourthGen / iPadFourthGen4G / iPadMini / iPadMini4G / iPhone5c / iPhone5s / iPhone6 / iPhone6Plus / iPodTouchSixthGen / – Download – £2.29
Android:4.0 – Download – £1.87/$2.99

If you’re ready to get serious about your astronomy then SkySafari 4 provides an in-depth look at the universe around us. Packed with historical and scientific data — as well as images from the Hubble telescope — the app lets you see the sky from any point and go forwards or backwards in time. More expensive editions of the app are also available. An authoritative and intuitive astronomy app with different editions to match interests.

— 5/5

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