Oscar Wilde once said “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” This couldn’t be more true because we all have looked up in wonder at those distant suns and planets and some of us have wanted to know more. The study of astronomy is a field that can be entered into at many different levels, from expert to mere observer. Regardless, however, as to your skill level, technology in the form of apps has made astronomy all the more accessible. Here then are 10 of the best Astronomy based apps available.
1. Star Chart:
This is an amazing app which uses a whole host of hi-tech methods to help you know what you are looking at. In terms of simplicity this is a point and shoot app, you merely direct your phone’s camera to the sky and the app does the rest. Day or night this app will use GPS technology to tell you what stars are in your field of vision. This is an absolute must for beginners.
2. NASA App:
Often when you start out stargazing you don’t really know what rare phenomenon to look out for. Well, with the NASA app you can discover what the experts at NASA are looking at and even see live feeds of space as well as launches. Trust me, NASA is interesting and the things they show on the app are stunning.
3. Nite Sky Lite:
A huge part of studying the night sky is knowing what, if anything, you can see. This is where Nite Sky Lite becomes invaluable because it essentially tells you if it’s worth staying up late or not. The app will tell you about weather conditions as well as great places from which to stargaze.
4. SkyView Free:
This is another star recognition type app which allows you again to use your camera to detect what you are looking at. The bonus with this particular app, however, is that it can also be used to post pictures of what you are seeing to your social media accounts.
5. GoSkyWatch Planetarium:
Those looking for the bigger picture, literally, will love this app which is exclusive to iPad. It is yet another star recognition system which offers better viewing quality and a touchscreen pop-up ability to get more details on individual stars or planets.
6. ISS Detector:
There are things up there that we ourselves sent out and this particular app is the one for finding those. The International Space Station, for example, is visible with the naked eye but we would have no idea we’re looking at it. With this app though you get a heads up that the ISS is flying overhead and it will locate it for you in the night sky. This app also works for other satellites and comets if you choose to use some add-ons.
7. Sky Map:
Google Sky Map is a great app for night sky explorers as it can identify and locate specific heavenly-bodies using your camera. Not only can it find the stars but it can show you their path through the night sky, both where it has been and where it is going to be later in the evening.
8. SkEye Astronomy:
This is a clever little app which can help you use your phone and telescope together. You merely strap your phone to the optical tube assembly of your telescope and you can then use it to locate particular stars and planets. The added benefit here of course being that you can get a magnified image of the star or planet you are viewing.
9. Star & Planet Finder:
This is yet another night sky star and planet locator which offers a free version with a limited number of better known targets pre-set. If you want to find more obscure planets or stars you can purchase versions with a more varied library.
10. Satellite Augmented Reality:
This final app, as the name suggests, is a satellite detector meaning it locates those man-made space dwellers. You merely point your camera to the skies, input your target from the apps list and it will find the satellite you seek. You can then look through your telescope and get a good look at your target.