15 Best Astronomy Apps for iPhone & iPad31
Watching the stars at night is a lot of fun. It is even more so when you know what you are looking at. You can now use your smartphone to learn about the objects in the sky, view star maps, find dark skies, track the best conditions for stargazing, learn about exoplanets, and even find your favorite celestial objects with augmented reality. Here are 15 astronomy iPhone apps that help you explore the objects in the sky like a pro:
Popular Astronomy Apps for iPhone & iOS
Night Sky: this iOS astronomy app helps you identify stars, planets, constellations, and satellites. You can also identify celestial objects on your Apple Watch with AR. The app gives you an animated view of the sky above you from sunset to sunrise.
Distant Suns: Distant Suns covers hundreds of thousands of stars and planets and helps you explore the sky right on your iPhone. It is GPS aware and shows current weather patterns, stories behind each constellation, and more.
Star Chart for iPhone: Star Chart is an iPhone astronomy app that puts a virtual star chart in your pocket. Just point the app to the sky to find out what you are looking at. It calculates in real time the location of each star, planet, and moon visible from earth.
Luminos: a premium astronomy application that covers millions of celestial objects. You will be able to use it to learn more about objects in the sky, identify stars, travel through time, and watch the solar system in motion.
Stellar Tour: an augmented reality stargazing app for iPhone that shows you what you are looking at in the sky. It can show constellations, stars, exoplanet systems, galaxies, nebulae, planets, moons, and more.
Observer Pro: a wonderful app for astronomy planning. It covers over 14,000 deep sky objects and charts to help you locate celestial objects.
Scope Nights: an astronomy weather and dark sky map for those of you who would like to take your telescope out for stargazing. It has forecasts for up to 10 locations worldwide and up to 10 nights ahead.
Star Walk: Star Walk reminds me of SkyScout. It’s a cool iPhone app that will show you what you are looking at in the sky. It also comes with plenty of other features to help you take your game to the next level.
GoSkyWatch Planetarium: GoSkyWatch Planetarium is wonderful application that helps you locate and identify planets in the sky. If you are into astronomy, you are going to have a lot of fun with the star finder and other features available with this app.
Solar Walk: Solar Walk 3D lets you play with the objects in our solar system right on your iPhone. It lets you explore the planets and find out all kinds of information about them.
Pocket Universe: Pocket Universe is another cool iOS stargazing app that lets you navigate the stars and learn new things about this field. It has an augmented reality mode and can track the ISS.
Moon Globe: Moon Globe is a wonderful app that lets you explore our moon to your heart’s desire. Great tool for astronomy students and moon enthusiasts.
Galaxy Collider: a guilty pleasure but Galaxy Collider shows you what happens when galaxies collide in the space. You can now watch one of most breathtaking events in our universe right on your iPhone.
Learn Astronomy: this is a wonderful iPhone astronomy app for students. It has an AI coach, bite sized lessons, and quizzes to teach your kids more about the stars.
ISS Spotter: an ISS spotting app for iOS. It makes it easy to spot the International Space Station and also shows the the forecast of visible passes.
What are your favorite astronomy apps for iPhone?
Don't forget "Flyby" which is great for spotting bright satellites and the ISS when they fly over. Since these objects are some of the brightest in the sky and they move so fast, it's rewarding to see them overhead.
An other heavy player is Astromist. Reference on Palm and Windows Mobile devices since years, it is available since June 2010 on iPhone. Everything is covered from Sky map to Earth Satellite tracking, 3D planet view or sun/moon eclipse simulation. A must have.
It's a cool list, but do you have any idea what distinguishes the one app from the other? What makes them your 15 best?
exactly my criticism
I completely understand. We are in the process of overhauling all our lists. Some of other lists have already been updated with this information. But we have over 100 lists here. We will address these shortcomings shortly.
Advanced amateurs wanting to track sidereal time and Julian date, either for setting circle alignment or time sensitive observations might find AstroClock useful. If you are into variable stars, the Variable Stars app offers a searchable database.
skysafari is the best one by far
SkySafari and Starmap Pro.
Does anything else come close?
I like RedShift, which we will be adding to this list shortly.
I have a star chart app on my touch and its really helpfull to a noobe like me but ill be sure to try these others out
I have to ask, what's the difference? I really just want to be able to point it up and say "oh hey that's that this one is called" I don't need the extra bells and whistles… I just want to know what constellations I'm looking at, I know Androde phones can get Google Sky which is free… does Apple have any that are like that program and free?
Are all of these compatible with the Southern Hemisphere?
I’m a bit disappointed at the lack of depth and differentiation in this review. Some of these apps do very different things. You could categorise them to start with. And if you expect people to download a whole app for just this purpose then does just a sentence or two cut it as a review?
Pictures: APOD is great. Then your moon and planet explorers. The big one is the star gazing ones and there are big differences. Some don’t even have a red mode, or if they do, they also have icons and things that still mess up your night vision. The gyro accuracy on some seems dodgy – I like Pocket Universe but have problems with this aspect. It would be good if some of them gave realistic assessments of what DFOs you could see dependent on what your viewing conditions and scope are. An I’d love if some of them built in brightness control so you could tone down the screen without having to go to Settings (totally trashing your night vision in the process).
Alan, you are right. We are working hard on improving our lists. I do encourage you to check our reviews on iPhoneappsfinder.com as that is our sister site for individual reviews. In the meantime, we will do a better job differentiating these in the future.
Is there an app that lets you put in a star's coordinates so you can look at a specific star anytime you want? Such as a star that was bought and named for you? Thanks
Star Map Pro and Sky Safari offer something similar. I think you can actually connect them to your telescope. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/goskywatch-planeta… is not a bad one either but I am not sure it offers what you need.
I really like your providing the list of 15. I do have one suggestion, though. Put the names and the blurb first, then the screen shot–and add some blank space between apps. Right now, as one scrolls down the page, it gets confusing which picture goes with which app! Name should go first!
Roby. We are due for a redesign. It'll take time but things will be that much better.
Do any of these apps require a camera? I have the 1st generation iPod touch 8gb
Not all of them. For instance, Moon Globe does not require a camera. Some other ones would work the best with a decent cam when you point your phone to the sky to identify objects.
Apple really needs to offer Google Sky free as does the Android. I and many others I lnow are very disappointed that they do not.
Is there an app to allow me to connect my Samsung camera to a telescope eyepiece so that my wife and 18 month old grandchild can view the sky without scrunching up to an eyepiece?
There is an app that shows the moon phase every 12 hours in HQ:
I'm looking for an app that: let's me point my iphone at the star/planet/constellation, and:
1) Identifies it
2) Gives me a "mythology" lesson on it (e.g. "this is the constellation Orion… ancient skywatchers said that Orion was chasing the constellation Taurus across the sky. Orion was the…
3) Provides scientific information about objects (this is the planet X. It is a red star with six known planets. Light from this star takes approximately 2,700 years to reach earth. That meas that when the light that you are seeing left this star, the ancient egyptians were just building their first pyramids (or whatever)…"
4) Photos from Hubble or other astronomy sources on screen tap.
Do any of these do all this?
i kinda like the app solar walk
Me too 🙂
You must update this to include Sky Safari which is, without a doubt, the most feature packed, easy-to-use star charting, deep sky object program for the i-devices.
We will surely
Looking for an app that searches for conjunctions, eclipses and occulutations. I know there are tables but a search display app would be nice.
Will look for it and add here.
I’ve looked over some of your Youtube videos. Thanks for the reference. What I would find helpful is a table with features in the left column and apps along the top and checks for which apps have which features. If you know of anyone who has done this please provide a link. Many thanks.