5 stellar apps for stargazers & space explorers

Last updated: July 27, 2018

Want to identify constellations, spot planets, and get the lowdown on moon phases? You’re not alone. A whole universe of apps is out there for seasoned stargazers and young space voyagers alike – here are our favourites.
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SkyView® Lite

Contains ads
Why we love this
  1. 1Intuitive and informative, SkyView makes it easy to start stargazing – no Wi-Fi or experience necessary
  2. 2Search for a star, constellation, planet, galaxy, or satellite, and an arrow will direct you to it
  3. 3Point your device at a celestial body or constellation, and tap to learn its name and key facts about it
Identify and locate objects in the sky (and even view their trajectories) with this approachable app. Turn on augmented reality mode to overlay your camera view with 3D celestial graphics, and easily take screenshots as you explore. You can adjust star brightness and planet size, though there’s no option to zoom in.
Why we love this
  1. 1Astronomy buffs will relish the detail in this technical, open-source planetarium
  2. 2View the sky through a zoomable 3D map featuring planets, nebulae, and constellations from various cultures
  3. 3Lots of layering options: constellation illustrations, grid lines, satellites, atmospheric effects, and more
Space out with a sky map over 600,000 stars bright, in augmented reality or on a still screen. You can change the time and date to see skies past and future, and tap or search for an object to see its location and key stats. We truly love getting lost in the stars with Stellarium, though we’d appreciate a guide to its interface.

Astronomy for Kids 🚀 Space Game by Star Walk 2

Contains ads
Offers in-app purchases
Why we love this
  1. 1Space-curious kids can start exploring the universe with this colorful, educational app
  2. 2Learners embark on an animated journey through the solar system, guided by high-quality audio clips and videos
  3. 3Short, occasional quizzes test and reinforce newfound knowledge
Space for Kids teaches budding astronomers about planets, constellations, comets, the Hubble Space Telescope, and more – all starting with a spaceship-captured cow. They’ll gather information by visiting the observatory and cinema, or launching into space. There are ads, but you can pay a small fee to remove them.
Why we love this
  1. 1Geek out on all things astronomical – from daily planetary movements to total eclipses
  2. 2Read the latest space news from sources like NASA, and view daily astronomy photos with informative captions
  3. 3See upcoming events – from lunar phases and meteor showers to planet conjunctions – and add them to a personal calendar
If you get fired up just knowing that Neptune’s in opposition to the sun, SkyWiki’s for you. What it lacks in design finesse, it makes up for in minutiae. Tap “Periscope” for daily solar system stats, plus a chart that visualizes the altitudes of the sun and moon. View a sky map based on your location, and watch objects move as you “time travel.”
Why we love this
  1. 1This beautiful, focused tool is for those looking to stay in tune with the moon
  2. 2See how the moon looks from where you stand (craters and all), with a 3D graphic you can rotate and move through time
  3. 3Get the lunar 411: daily rise and set times, phase, orbital data, crescent angles, and visibility percentage
A dynamic moon simulation is at the center of this lunar lover’s app, accompanied by stats like time until the next full moon. View the calendar to see the moon month at a glance. We appreciate the moon phase notifications and live wallpaper, but our favorite feature is (obviously) Cheese Mode.
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