Today, we take a look at our top 5 astronomy apps for Android. To say that I love astronomy would be an understatement, I’ve been infatuated by the subject for many years now. Sadly, in the early years, I didn’t have an Android phone, it would have made learning so much easier for me. But times have changed and almost everyone has a smartphone now..
Smartphone these days are a great tool for learning, and the subject of astronomy is no exception. There are countless apps which help you make sense of the heavens above, and teach you a thing or two about it. So let’s delve in to our top 5 astronomy apps for Android.
1. Sky Map (Free)
Sky Map is one of the first apps I downloaded when I got my phone, even if you’re not into astronomy, this is a cool app to have. It’s a simple augmented reality sky chart based on Google’s sky map project that displays constellations, planets, notable stars, galaxies, asteroids and more.
The app is easy to use, once you’ve set up your location, you can point it at a bright star in the night sky (it might be something Sirius) and the app will automatically show you the object on the sky chart with and tell you its name. Similarly you can move the phone across the sky and check out other things in the sky, this and other cool features (see video for more) make this a must have app on your phone. It’s perfect for learning the night sky around you, and it helps out during casual stargazing.
2. SkEye (Free)
If you’ve recently bought an amateur telescope, chances are that it came with a Digital Setting Circle (DSC), if supported, the cool thing about that is you can set the coordinates of a celestial body digitally, you can use your phone, too! Thanks to SkEye you can strap on your phone to a DSC and with a touch choose from thousands of stars, nebulae and galaxies. Once you’ve chosen your desired object, the app will tell automatically set the telescope for you!
It’s a great free app for those who have trouble locating objects in the heavens, and it’s just so convenient.
3. Astronomy Picture of The Day (Free)
NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) website has been running for more than a decade now, each day they post an amazing astronomical picture with a brief description of what’s going on in the picture. It’s got a rich archive filled with some of the best images taken in the field of astronomy for the past decade or so, now you can have all that on your Android phone with their app of the same name.
With the app free app, you can set each day’s picture as your wallpaper, you’ll never be bored with your background again.
4. SatTrack (Free)
Not everything that streaks across the sky at night is a meteor. Sometimes these bright objects floating across the sky are satellites and they get very bright when they reflect sunlight, in fact, the International Space Station (ISS) is the thrid brightest object in the night sky! I love to watch ISS pass over head, and SatTrack is one of the most helpful apps to track these satellites.
The app provides a simple interface and shows you all the satellite passes overhead at your current location. You can set alarms to remind you to see those, and have a nice little widget on your screen which shows you the next pass of a satellite of your choice.
5. SkySafari 3 Pro ($39.99)
SkySafari 3 is one of the best astronomy apps on the market, it brings 450MB of astronomical information right to your phone! It’s the perfect app when you’re gone out to camp in dark areas, usually these places have no internet access, you needn’t worry about that with SkySafari 3 Pro. It contains 1100 descriptions of the constellations, stars, and planets written by professional astronomers. And it contains over 800 images from NASA’s several space missions and it has beautiful pictures taken by renounced astro-photographers.
This is a premium astronomy app on the market, it contains more stars than Google’s Sky Map, and it contains an extensive NGC/IC objects and 110 Messier objects. It also gives you the ability to control your telescope wirelessly and a lot more!
So, whether you’re an amateur astronomer, a professional, or just a casual stargazer these astronomy apps for Android will help you make sense of the sky around you. Grab one of these apps and head out to observe the beautiful night sky. Clear skies!