The best astronomy apps to see stars and planets – the clare people

Many people like to admire the night sky, especially when it is clean and full of a variety of light points. But not everyone recognizes what they see in the sky – perhaps the most famous constellations are the first to be reported, for example the one known as Cruzeiro do Sul. Is that bright spot over there a star or a planet? What is that faint glow moving in a straight line?

  • 14 tips for taking the best photos of the sky and the stars with your mobile phone
  • The good news is that there are mobile apps that help you see the stars and planets, showing you exactly what each shining point in the sky is for. Some of these apps allow you to keep track of what happened in the sky even in real time, even identifying the satellites passing through it at that time.

    That is why

    Canaltech has put together the best astronomy apps for seeing stars and planets, and that eventually teaches anyone a bit more about astronomy.

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    Sky chart / Star chart

    • Compatibility:

      Android, iOS

    Price:

    free

    The Sky Map or Star Map (as found on the App Store) is perhaps one of the most comprehensive free astronomy apps available. Thanks to it, it is possible to observe the sky in real time according to the position of the observer. Simply point your cell phone camera at the object in the sky that you want to identify and touch the object in question to get more information about it, such as its name, distance from Earth and the magnitude of the apparent luminosity in the sky.

    (Image: Wyllian Towers / Screenshot)

    There is still the option to advance the time, which is great for predicting the movement of the sky over the hours. For example, do you want to know in which direction the stars rise and set, or what time will the moon rise on the horizon? Carta Celeste, in its free version, provides these answers.

    Above the heavens

  • Compatibility:

    Android

  • Price:

    free

  • Heavens-Above is much simpler than the previous app because it doesn’t have a dynamic GUI that simulates the night sky, but nothing makes it less advantageous. It is ideal for knowing exactly which satellites and planets are in the sky above your head, either in real time or by setting the desired date.

    (Image: Wyllian Towers / Screenshot)

    The coolest thing about Heavens-Above is the ability to set an alert for the most interesting objects. With this, the app will always warn you when, for example, the International Space Station passes by your position, also informing its apparent brightness (magnitude), its elevation above the horizon and more. Regarding satellites, it even informs who the manufacturer is and their launch date.

    Stellarium

    Compatibility:

    Android, Internet

  • Price:

    free

  • The Stellarium in its mobile version is a bit similar to the Sky Chart, but it is more dynamic and easier to navigate. With the Portuguese translation, this application, even in its free version, allows you to view the different definitions of the compositions of constellations from different cultures.

    (Image: Wyllian Towers / Screenshot)

    It also offers night mode, essential not to dazzle the luminosity of the stars on observation nights. Therefore, Stellarium can identify stars, planets, comets and even some satellites, in real time or not.

    Moon

    Compatibility:

    Android, iOS

  • Price:

    free

  • Moon is a very simple application and its only goal is the Moon. It offers basic information about our natural satellite based on the date of access. Example: When you open the app now, it will show the amount of moon lit by the sun at that time and also tell you what the phase of the moon is right now.

    (Image: Wyllian Towers / Screenshot)

    It’s a very objective app and there isn’t much to interact with, but if the goal is to track the movement of the Moon over the course of the month, for example, that’s fine.

    Sky chart

  • Compatibility:

    Android

  • Price:

    free

    The Star Chart is similar to Stellarium, but a shorter and simpler version. It has some cool controls like setting what you want it to display in the sky through your phone’s camera. For example, you can choose to only see the planets in that part of the sky where you point the device’s camera, or choose only the stars, and so on.

    (Image: Wyllian Towers / Screenshot)

    However, it does not provide additional information when you click on objects. The star chart gives them their name and position, but it does not say, for example, in which phase the Moon is or the apparent luminosity of Venus. Still, it’s a good choice for those who want something more objective, no-frills.

    Scope of the solar system

    • Compatibility:

      Android, iOS

    Price:

    free

    The scope of the solar system, as the name suggests, is focused on the solar system. It not only offers the view of the sky from the terrestrial point of view like in other apps, but it also provides a true journey of exploration through our planetary system.

    (Image: Wyllian Towers / Screenshot)

    In addition to its sci-fi game-like look, the Solar System Scope provides a wealth of information on the most diverse celestial bodies scattered throughout the solar system. This is great for visualizing, for example, where the asteroid belts are located or what the composition of Neptune’s core is.

    Star search

  • Compatibility: Android

  • Price:

    free

  • The Star Finder is an alternative for those looking for a lighter, easier to navigate version of the star map. It allows you to approach the object of interest via on-screen gestures and offers a summary of its characteristics, as well as its distance from Earth.

    (Image: Wyllian Towers / Screenshot)

    However, it is only available in English. Still, it’s easy to use the app from the control icons, which are very intuitive. As in other applications already mentioned, the Star Finder also allows “time travel” – an ideal resource for those who wish to discover the position of stars and stars on a specific date.

    Solar Walk Lite

    • Compatibility:

      Android

    • Price: free

    This is another solar system focused app. In addition to the music that cradles the exploration of the sky, Solar Walk Lite provides a wealth of information about the planets, including real images taken during various missions.

    (Image: Wyllian Towers / Screenshot)

    When the focal object is Earth, the app indicates the most revealing satellites in orbit, as well as the International Space Station. It is not an app for those who want to point their cell phone at the sky and find out what they are looking at, but rather to explore the solar system.

    Sol, Moon and Planets

  • Price:

    free

  • This app is similar to Heavens-Above, but its graphical interface can be more attractive. Its exploration commands are numerous, ranging from the exact position of objects in the sky to our cosmic neighborhood, including the stars closest to the solar system.

    (Image: Wyllian Towers / Screenshot)

    The Sun, Moon, and Planets also provide details about the moons of other planets. Additionally, it provides a calendar showing major celestial events, such as much admired lunar eclipses.

    Star walk

    • Compatibility:

      Android, iOS

    Price:

    free

    Star Walk is a great option for those who want a very basic astronomy app, with the most essential information possible, making it very easy to use. It shows things like the name and position of objects in the sky, both in real time and at other times.

    (Image: Wyllian Towers / Screenshot)

    The app also presents a summary of the data on the object of interest and allows you to move forward or backward in time. A minus point, perhaps, are the ads that appear suddenly – which doesn’t detract from the experience, but can annoy those who want to stay focused on their observations.

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