Star Mapping: More Apps


Apps & Software to Star Gaze the Night Away

Stellarium Mobile Sky Map (Android, iOS)

Stellarium Mobile Sky Map

Stargazing used to be a pursuit followed only by those in the know, or those with access to resources that allowed them to make sure their telescope was pointed at precisely the correct location in the sky. Things have moved on a bit, however, and Star Chart’s 3D representation of the night’s sky utilises the GPS on your phone as well as accurate calculations to bring you up-to-date renderings of a majority of the objects in the night sky. This app’s not only useful for astronomers looking to find the right object to look at, but also for those with a general interest in astronomy too. You can discover the name of almost any object in the sky, and even bring up facts about it. Star Chart is reviewed here to inform you of its features, its design, and its impressive content.


Star Chart (Android, iOS)

Star Chart

Stargazing used to be a pursuit followed only by those in the know, or those with access to resources that allowed them to make sure their telescope was pointed at precisely the correct location in the sky. Things have moved on a bit, however, and Star Chart’s 3D representation of the night’s sky utilises the GPS on your phone as well as accurate calculations to bring you up-to-date renderings of a majority of the objects in the night sky. This app’s not only useful for astronomers looking to find the right object to look at, but also for those with a general interest in astronomy too. You can discover the name of almost any object in the sky, and even bring up facts about it. Star Chart is reviewed here to inform you of its features, its design, and its impressive content.


Solar Walk Planets (Android, iOS)

Solar Walk Planets

Not many apps out there can promise to take you on a guided tour of our Solar System. Even the incredible Mobile Observatory app has its star-gazing limits, but Solar Walk’s focused approach has an extensive tour of our local Solar System in mind. It allows you to explore in full a wonderful 3D model of the solar system, hopping from planet to planet and even exploring the space between. It doesn’t stop there, however, since you can get a wider view of the Milky Way to truly put into context just how miniscule Earth really is in the context of the wider galaxy and the universe in general. So while astronomy apps can show you stars in the distance, Star Walk – Planets will take you on a guided, up-close-and-personal tour of our closer planetary neighbours.


Star Walk 2 (Android, iOS)

Star Walk 2

There are many things that make Star Walk 2 worth downloading. From its wealth of astronomical data informing its clean and easily navigable interface, to the ultra-high resolution detail in its 3D star-mapping models, this is a free app with as much weight and brilliance as some paid-for apps out there. Not only does Star Walk 2 allow you to map the night’s sky with your phone on the grand scale, but its interface also allows for you to pull up other outer-space phenomena – from close-up reproductions of colourful nebulae to distant dwarf planets, nearer satellites, and asteroids hurtling through space. The visual polish here is simply astounding, while the well-layered interface provides reason enough alone for you to read this review.


Star Walk Astronomy Guide (Android, iOS)

Star Walk Astronomy Guide

You can expect a similar kind of augmented reality experience from Star Walk – Astronomy Guide as you’d expect to find in many of its premium rivals. Though not as comprehensive or data-rich experience as the sublime Mobile Observatory, or as nuanced in design as Stellarium, Star Walk’s Astronomy Guide does quite a bit to set itself apart from the crowd, including giving you the option to share your own augmented-reality star-scape from your mobile device. Most of its features aren’t revolutionary – augmented reality, satellite information, and the ability to scroll forwards and backwards in time are fairly standard these days – but Star Walk – Astronomy Guide is both impressive and free to download.


Nasa App (Android, iOS)

Nasa App

NASA is probably one of the most famous bodies of authority in space-related matters on earth. For this reason alone, it can be prudent for a keen star-gazer to own the NASA app. Available for both Android and iOS handsets, the NASA app isn’t like most other cosmology apps you’ll find: its design is much sleeker to start with, but its focus is more as a central hub of knowledge for matters regarding space, rather than a GPS-utilising tool to point at the sky. As a compendium of space/space travel images, videos, live twitter feeds and even ISS tracking information, the NASA app is a triumph, but will it hold its own against the stiff cosmology-centric competition on the app store?


Nasa 3DV App (Android, iOS)

Nasa 3DV App

Most space fanatics have fantasised, at one point or another, about getting up close and personal with the many space craft and space-terrain exploration vehicles used by NASA. Most won’t ever be able to experience this kind of multi-million (and in some cases multi-billion) dollar hardware in real-life. This is where NASA’s 3DV app comes in. Leaving general astronomy functionality to apps like Stellarium, the 3DV app lets you use your device as a window the many types of space exploration hardware used by NASA. It lets you use your device to explore full 3D models of various craft, as well as displaying real-life 3D photographic models of various rooms and areas at NASA itself.


Solar Walk 2 (Android, iOS)

Solar Walk 2

Vito Technologies have stepped up their astronomy game, taking the greatness of the original Solar Walk and adding in improvements across the board. A refreshing change from the usual “point and explore” astronomy apps that have saturated the astronomy-app market, Solar Walk 2 begins with a wide-angle view of the solar system, allowing you to then zoom in on any planetary body that you wish. The unique selling point here are the 3D renderings of the planets – including a dynamic model of the sun, with flares, coronas, and more – that you can explore in detail by swiping around them. It’s not just the local solar system that Solar Walk 2 deals with, however; its impressive content is explored in this review.


Heavens Above (Android, iOS)

Heavens Above

In the age of apps and accessibility, a browser-based website for tracking satellites and other objects simply won’t cut it as an all-in-one solution, so this review speaks on behalf of star-gazers everywhere when welcoming the Heavens Above app to the world. This app brings together all of the planetary, constellation, and satellite information of the website into free and pro app versions that offer dynamic mapping of up-to-date satellite information as well as mountains of celestial knowledge just waiting to be accessed.