The 10 Best Astronomy Apps for Enjoying the Night Sky
Astronomy used to be a somewhat expensive hobby once upon a time, requiring telescopes and other equipment. However, that’s not quite the case anymore.
With smartphones being as smart as they are now, all you need are apps that will transform your phone into a mobile observatory. Here is our rundown of the 10 best astronomy apps for Android.
1. Sky Safari
Sky Safari will not just help you become a better-equipped astronomy fan, but also just lay down, relax, and look at the stars, with features like the soothing background music, for example.
It is equipped with a powerful search, which can help you instantly find any celestial object you’re looking for. There’s also a dedicated events section, as well as a live view of the sky that moves as you move your phone, according to your location and compass.
In-app purchases are available to unlock more features, like additional objects and perspectives.
2. Star Walk 2
Star Walk 2 is one of the most aesthetically pleasing astronomy apps out there. The app opens with a beautiful live view of the sky, reflecting your current location. The live view also has nice calming background music.
You can tap objects you see in the live sky to get a concise description, as well as a detailed image of the object. The search feature is also great, and the voice search works perfectly. The best feature of Star Walk 2 however, is the time slider that lets you slide through time and see how the objects move.
In-app purchases will let you unlock more celestial objects as well as remove the ads from the free version. Alternatively, you can just purchase the paid version of Star Walk 2.
3. Star Chart
Star Chart gives you three different modes. The first is the default sky view. Secondly, you get an explore mode that lets you wander across the solar system. The third mode is called “Moments in time”, which lets you take a virtual look at important past events in astronomy.
The standard app has all the basic features you’ll need, including a settings panel that lets you customize the sky view. Star Chart also packs in some serious expandability, giving you numerous in-app purchase options to add more to your stargazing experience.
If you want to expand the horizons of your astronomy hobby by doing a little more background research, check out these amazing astronomy websites.
4. Sky Map
Sky Map is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a no-frills map of the sky. Sky Map is simple, and reliable, and is meant for astronomy enthusiasts that just need a simple guide to the night sky.
You can select and deselect the categories of objects you want to be displayed on the map. The live view can be set to automatic, which moves as you move your device, or manual, which requires the user to navigate it.
There’s also a nifty time travel feature that will see what the sky looked like on any given date and time. Sky Map was originally developed by Google, but is now donated and open sourced.
Download: Sky Map for Android (Free)
5. Stellarium Mobile
If you’ve had an interest in astronomy for a while, you must have definitely heard about Stellarium. Stellarium Mobile brings the essence of Stellarium’s very popular desktop version to your phone.
Stellarium Mobile gives you a sky view with options to choose what appears in the sky. You can also choose to emulate different landscapes, which adds some virtual reality flavor to the app.
6. Solar Walk 2
Solar Walk 2 is an astronomy app that revolves around the sun and the solar system. Made by the developers of Sky Walk 2, this app shows you the night sky through from the perspective of our place in it.
Perhaps the best feature of Solar Walk 2 is the time bar, which you can use to time travel to see how celestial objects move over time. The paid version of the app also comes with a horde of other celestial objects to look at.
If you want a deeper look into the outer space, check out these free online space telescopes.
7. Mobile Observatory 2
Mobile Observatory is not the fanciest looking app on this list, but it is something every serious astronomy enthusiast needs to have. This astronomy app comes with loads of features, which makes up for the not-so-fancy user interface.
Mobile Observatory comes with different sky views, a dedicated solar system view, and different sections dedicated to objects, including the sun and moon. Not only that, there are sections for eclipses and events, as well. The app is paid but updated fairly regularly.
Download: Mobile Observatory 2 for Android ($4.49)
8. Sky View Free
Sky View Free is a unique astronomy app. Its primary feature of the sky view seems similar to other apps on this list at first glance. However, Sky View has an augmented reality (AR) mode for this view, which lets you point your camera to the sky and identify celestial objects in the app.
Sky View Free also has options to let you see trajectories of objects, take snaps of your current view, and check sky view by date and time.
9. Star Tracker
If you want a basic sky view that navigates through the sky well, Star Tracker is the way to go. Star Tracker is pretty basic, but for some astronomy enthusiasts, it might be all they need.
The key highlight of this app is the zoom feature, which will automatically zoom onto the celestial object that your screen is pointed at, giving you an immersive experience.
SkyWiki is an astronomy app that acts like a mini-encyclopedia of astronomy. You get a sky map with the option to change the speed of time, pause it, and print out the current version of the sky map.
However, that’s not all. SkyWiki is also equipped with a periscope section, which gives detailed insight into current celestial positioning. In addition, there are sections for celestial events and news, making SkyWiki a must-have guide to have for any astronomy enthusiast.
Download: SkyWiki for Android (Free)
More Ways to Explore Space
Astronomy apps don’t demand much in terms of smartphone specifications, other than compass, accelerometer, gyroscope, and such. Although it wasn’t the case a few years ago, these features are standard now, even in budget smartphones. So, a smartphone is all you need!
If you want to see the cosmos in further detail, check out these websites to view and download space images.