When you start with astronomy from your backyard, you might not know where to start pointing your telescope in order to view the stars and planets.
A star map is said to be useful because it can help you out, but it’s not very practical and sometimes star maps you can find online are pretty technical, which can feel overwhelming if you don’t know your way around the sky or how to use the map itself.
Luckily, there are tons of useful apps you can download to your phone and use to get a better picture of the sky.
What is a star gazing app?
These apps contain information about the night sky and guide you to where you should point your telescope to view celestial objects.
Many of the star-gazing apps on the market have a point-and-show feature – they allow you to simply point your device to a spot in the night sky to receive a wealth of information about what’s there, waiting to be seen.
That’s exciting but it’s just the start of what they have to offer. With that in mind, let’s check out six of the best star-gazing apps to download before you head outside to capture the sky’s treasures.
If you’d like to see a graphical breakdown of the top star gazing apps, we got you covered:
Share this Image On Your Site
Top Star-Gazing Apps To Try
The SkyView app is really easy to use. Simply point it to the sky and find out what is there for you to explore. But that’s not all – you will also gain information from the app about the celestial objects, such as the stars or planets, you want to view.
You’re not limited to stars and planets, though – the app will help you identify satellites and constellations, too. This app offers a comprehensive study of the universe.
SkyView Lite is a free app that’s available on both Android and IOS phones, and you don’t need Wi-Fi to use it so it’s perfect for those remote stargazing road trips.
Earlier, we mentioned how it’s always advisable to use star maps in order to locate what’s in the sky where you are. You can also use them to star hop, which is when you use the stars you can already see in the sky to help you “hop over” to others.
Well, this is a star chart app that delivers precise information to help you out, thanks to its GPS technology and 3D simulation features. These enable you to locate various celestial bodies, such as stars, planets, and their moons.
Not only can you point your phone up to the sky, but you can also point your phone to the ground at your feet so you can find out what the sky looks like on the other side of the world!
You can also zoom into what you see, and it’s simple to do so because you can use finger gestures for the ultimate convenience.
Star Chart is a free app that’s available on both iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.
Star And Planet Finder
Maybe you want to tell an app what to find in the sky because you’re keen on locating something specific. If so, Star and Planet Finder is the one for you.
Instead of pointing your device to the sky and finding out what’s there for you to see, this app works in the other way.
You choose a planet from a list on the app that you want to find and the app will show you where you can find it. You’ll then simply move your phone according to the pointer display, which will represent the planet you’re trying to find.
The app also has other useful features you’ll be keen to try, such as its constellation maps and information pertaining to the planets, such as their range, mass, and diameter. You’ll feel like an astronomer in no time!
While it is a free app for IOS, you will have to pay extra to unlock some features.
Redshift Sky Pro
If you want a fully immersive experience when you embark on a bit of star hunting in the night sky, you will want to try Redshift Sky Pro.
This app allows you to view what celestial bodies are waiting to be found in the sky and how the constellations change in a really unique way. What’s really special about it is that you can experience what it would be like to view the sky from other planets.
That’s pretty cool and a wonderful way to make astronomy feel much more immersive, even if you’re watching the sky from your backyard. As a bonus, the app can inform you of all the latest celestial events so you don’t miss them.
Redshift Sky Pro is available on both IOS and Android, and it costs $8.99.
SkySafari usually comes up when someone mentions astronomy, and for good reason.
It does the regular things you’d expect from a stargazing app, such as identifying stars and planets – just point your phone to the sky and voila – but it also offers some extra features that make it the perfect app for you if you’re serious about astronomy.
It provides simulations of celestial events, such as meteor showers, while also giving you tips on how to find the constellations.
It’s not always easy to find those patterns in the sky, even though in theory it seems like locating them would be simple, so this app will help you locate them quickly and without a hassle. It’s also useful for teaching your kids about the stars when you’re outside at night.
The app only costs $2.99, and it’s available on both IOS and Android.
Night Sky is another stargazing app that’s reserved for IOS users but it provides you with an augmented reality map of the sky!
It can also work with other Apple devices, such as your Apple Watch, so that you can access the information from there, which is pretty cool. How it works is that it uses your device’s accelerometer so that it can provide you with a 3D rendering of space whenever you hold your device up to the sky.
You will be able to look at planets, constellations, and stars in much more detail. You will also see the internal structures of the planets on your device just by pushing a button.
For astronomer beginners, this app is especially beneficial because it will help you in so many ways. For starters, you’ll love the night mode feature that you can use with this app so that you can read maps in the dark without hurting your eyes.
You’ll also enjoy its valuable weather reports so you can find out when the best times are to spot certain celestial objects. That’s really important information to know about and now you’ll have it in your hands whenever you need it.
The Night Sky app is free, but you will have to pay money for extra features.
These premium features are worth it, though – one of them enables you to enjoy live sky tours for any time or location in the world! It’s been said that Night Sky has sci-fi features, so you’re sure to love spending hours using it.
What’s the best app to use to track satellites?
If you want to track satellites, download the ISS Detector (available on IOS and Android).
It tracks the International Space Station and also provides premium features such as allowing you to track other satellites, as well as comets and planets.
What’s a useful app to download if you want light pollution info?
The app also has some other excellent features, such as live views of the sun!
If you want to start searching for stars and planets in the night sky, you might not be sure where to start. Don’t worry – after reading this article, you now have all the best stargazing apps at your fingertips so that you can easily locate celestial objects to view and photograph.
While many of the best-rated star apps share the same features, such as allowing you to point your device at the sky and immediately gaining valuable information about the celestial bodies that are in that location, it’s clear to see that they all offer tons more! Best of all, many of them are free.