Best Star Gazing Apps to Lose Yourself In
Best Star Gazing Apps to Lose Yourself In
Best Star Gazing Apps, title says it all right?
If we go back to basics we have our Bodies, the Earth, and the Sky. Thousands of years ago we looked up and plotted out constellations, all the while making stories for those stellar figures in hopes to gain some type of understanding of what could not be measured. Today most of us still look up and are kind of stuck. We see this vast expanse of untrod space armed with our best theories of what it might be and forget sometimes to take a few hours out of our busy day so we might again just look and wonder. Wonder can mean different things. We can wonder about the mechanics of something–the who, what, where, when, why, and how–or we can just have wonder about something. The wonder that makes us reassess our position in the world. It gives perspective looking at something so big. Some would even say that it grants peace. Faced with something so huge; everything you worry about means nothing.
Then we see something we want to know more about.
Rather than ascribe to the wisdom of ages past and come up with a story about it we have the best of two worlds; old and new. Take out your phone and consider these apps, they may just quench your thirst for knowledge.
Keeping in the vein of getting what you pay for, we couldn’t think of a better reason to spend the same amount of money as a coffee at Starbucks for this awesome app called “Starwalk 2.” The introduction screens tell us everything we need to know about it. It tells us that it auto aligns with the position of the phone, it says that it has the ability to superimpose a display over what we’re looking at so we can just point the phone up, and the camera tells us what we’re looking at, and there are the usual suspects: a Quasi-Star-Almanac with the times of the Setting Sun, Live Planetary Data, and current Moon Phase, Settings for Brightness, Night Mode, and finally Zoom.
Except for something that we haven’t seen before. There was a feature that uses filters that reproduce what infrared and x-ray environments look like. If you happen to be alone at night or even if you have a friend or… lover perhaps… there is a repeating soundtrack that really adds to the whole experience.
“I feel negative publicity has been given where it isn’t deserved here. Many people are leaving low scores for what is a great app. I sent emails to the makers of this app and to App of the Day and needless to say, only one replied. Apparently the agreement was for all features to be free for one day only which was not what App of the Day advertised. I feel if any negativity needs to be aired it should be on App of the Day’s page, and not this one, as this is a great little app. Well worth 5 stars”
Night Sky Tools – Astronomy
Not every application appeals to the masses. There are a few of us out there that have a penchant for stripped down, bare, minimal interfaces that maximize information and put distraction low on the list of priorities. This app is it. It has a list form that can be further expanded with information that seems to be very specific and scholarly. Terms like, Aphelion, Monocertoids, and Conjunction as it pertains to space populate the menus. It really seems to be geared toward enthusiasts. For an easy layout, and content that you either just “get” or don’t, give this app a spin.
And we like the Black UI.
“Nicely Simple to Use Useddaily. This sky tool kit is easy to use off line with a large library. Instructions for use are needed in ‘general’. The beautiful sky map was only switched on by working through various menu choices. Still working out how to line up the good daylight/night map on the user.”
Get Night Sky Tools – Astronomy on Google Play
Best of Astronomy
Ok, this app strikes us as another way to actually learn about astronomy. There are some apps that are kind of bloated and have tons of menus upon menus or categories with sub-categories and further refined results… this one just takes you to where it says it’ll take you. It even has a little section where you can take your favorite topics and have them organized into a book that you can access later instead of having to hunt for the same topic as you commute on the bus.
It’s streamlined and built for slow connections. Even if most of us live in cities with faster internet, I doubt we use the data all the time. I would even go so far as to say that if you happen to be anything like me, you use the free Wi-Fi hot spots scattered throughout the city. Whether it’s Pep Boys or Starbucks, we all know how slow they can be. Even if you do keep your mobile data on all the time, this would be a great app to use as it doesn’t chew through much data at all.
With these apps hopefully they get you outside and take you back to the same time–before we worried about being an adult. The criteria is the same, only the apps with 4.0 stars and above, only those updated within the last 6 months, and only those that don’t require you to buy right away.
September 20, 2015
“Amazing. There is only one word I found that can describe this app- beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Its my dream app..I dont know why I didnt download this earlier! Absolutely love it.”
Get Best of Astronomy on Google Play
After setting our current location on the little planet, we were taken to our specific point in the world to view the space that’s visible to us. While it has many of the same features as the other apps with the same sort of navigation (night mode, 3d exploring, augmented reality, etc.), it does include something different. It includes virtual tours of fully rendered environments circling each planet.
“Beautiful and eye-catching. The illustrations for the constellations are gorgeous, the skins for the planets and sun are magnificent. AR is pinpoint and easily calibrated. Wonderful app.”
Something about this is just… awesome. it might be the graphic layout, of course it has augmented reality and music and the ability to either search manually or zoom in, it just feels different.
It may just be the colors but it feels great to look at. With such a delightful array of tools in such an appealing package it may just pay to help support the developer even if it unlocks those things given for free in other apps. as most of you already know, I’ll throw a couple bucks just to get rid of those ads.
“best astro app. had a problem and got a quick response from the app team. problem was that i had bought a ported version of this app on a blackberry 10 device and i wondered why the ads were appearing on the android version. paying for the android version solved it. looking forward to enjoying it on the blackberry priv sometime soon”
Get Star Tracker – Mobile Sky Map on Google Play
NASA is halfway between scholar and the general public. It may be for those enthusiasts that watch documentaries–me–and those who read anything by Brian Greene. After you accept the Terms and Agreements you come up on a thumbnail grid of icons that keep things nice and tidy. As you click on topics, you’re directed to the tiny app page with information and further info in the form of links that push you outside to the browser. All in all it’s very integrative. Under videos–the first in our series of astronomy apps–you get to hear from Lola and NASA television explain subjects that may seem challenging. Further down you have little odds and ends such as commentaries and computer rendered data graphs explaining certain measurements for this or that.
Being a government entity, NASA hosts plenty of videos, over 10,000 to generalize. Finding content wouldn’t be a problem. News and Features are in it’s own tab along with a digital radio station called “Third Rock Radio”. It gives you locations of NASA centers, Images you can look at, upcoming missions, and oddly enough, ringtones.
October 24, 2015
“This is the best ever app created !This is the best app i totally fell in love with this i live space and i have a dream to join nasa when i will grow up my dream is to become an astronaut and yes i get all yhe information i desire from this app love you nasa!”
And then there was one. Back in the day this was the go to for star charting. When we used to sit outside and wonder what certain stars were we would download this app on our OG Droids and take a gander. I suspect since most of google is open sourced that the code from Google Sky Map is really the starting point for so many of the apps featured here in this article. There’s the ability to display a number of options like stars, constellations, galaxies, planets, novas, the sky grid, and the equator line. It has night mode as well as the ability to pan and zoom on your own.
January 10, 2015
“Seems to work pretty well When I downloaded this app it didn’t seem to want to work, the Sun was out and the app was saying that it was night. Anyway, I turned on GPS and it corrected itself.”
SkEye | Astronomy
As with most of the applications here this one is location based. Once it determines your particular locale, you then get a variety of settings such as using the time feature to see where an object was years ago, indirect mode, changing the color theme, and full screen. The rest of the options only control how easily each object is seen. Messier, NGC, Stars, and Constellations. Having your devices exact coordinates and battery level at the top within view is pretty cool too.
November 18, 2015
“A lightweight, ultra useful stargazing companion Used Google sky map before….. This one totally blows it to space”
Get SkEye|Astronomy on Google Play
Coming full circle from the original Google Sky Maps we would say the very best you might be able to do is this right here. The augmented reality feature is amazing. It feels so immersive with fluid movements, detailed information when you touch objects, being able to calibrate your view if it’s off, and absolutely NO ADS for the free version. It really makes you want to give a little something more for the downloadable content.
We took videos and pictures all while listening to the ethereal music lull us into thinking more about what we were looking at in the sky than what we were looking at on our phone.
After a while we kind of just set our phone down with the music still on and continued to look up and around.
One thing that was a first for us was being able to have this application interact with digital telescopes. It would need a specific type of telescope of course but since we didn’t have it we couldn’t test it. Assuming everything is the same across the board we think it shouldn’t be that hard to set up if you happen to have one.
October 19, 2015
“THE BOMB! This app blew me away. Thank You! Money well spent on the pro version!”
When I was a child, I remember going outside and wondering if there was a place out there that was looking right back at us. I used to wonder if they were doing the same thing I was, standing outside and looking up. Some of my best memories take place outside, laying in a sleeping bag with a pair of binoculars, hoping I’d see something that told me I wasn’t so alone in the universe. Thirty-two this year and I still haven’t lost my wonder for stellar observation. what that being said, the advent of technology is such that we can use our devices to point us in the right direction without having to rely on looking for star configurations and the like.
Regardless of what you think your place is in our Universe and whether you happen to be spiritual or not, there is something to be said about going outside and appreciating the sky for what it is. The awesome display of nature unknown is enough to set you back a few steps and for once–be silent.