18 of the best stargazing apps for spotting constellations in the night sky

Lisa Walden
·6-min read
Photo credit: Chris McLoughlin - Getty Images
Photo credit: Chris McLoughlin - Getty Images

From Country Living

Stargazing apps are brilliant for spotting constellations in the night sky, looking at the planets, identifying stars and learning about astrology. Whether you're a beginner or a stargazing pro, these user-friendly apps are the ultimate guide to the night sky.

One of the great things about stargazing apps is that they let you stargaze at home without a telescope or expensive equipment. We might not be able to travel to a designated Dark Sky Reserve, but these apps will help you get the most from stargazing at home.

Take a look at some of the best stargazing apps to download in 2021...

1. Star Walk 2

Stargazers will love this easy-to-use app which includes guides to explore the night sky, tips for identifying stars, and information about constellations, planets, satellites, asteroids and comets. It's perfect for those who want to brush up on their astrology knowledge from the comfort of their own home.

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2. SkyView

SkyView is the clever app which lets you point your iPhone, iPad, or iPod at the night sky to identify stars, constellations, satellites, and more. It's had all-round rave reviews, with one user saying: "I love being able to open this app whenever I see a star or constellation that I want to know more about or become familiar with."

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3. Star Chart

Looking for an app everyone in your family will love? Star Chart is one of the best educational and augmented reality astronomy apps around, ticking all the boxes. Simply download it onto your phone or tablet and look through the eyes of your device to see a high-tech window into the whole visible universe.

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4. Google Sky

If you don't have a phone, a great way to soak up the night sky is to head over to Google Sky. Thanks to team at NASA, you can see just what's going on above us by dragging your mouse across the page. From stars to the constellations, bring the wonder of the sky into your living room with just one click...

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5. SkySafari

Using professional telescope astronomy software, SkySafari lets its users revel in the beauty of the creation with just a few clicks. With precise graphics and educational content, it's ideal for those looking to brush up on their astrology skills.

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Photo credit: Inner_Vision - Getty Images
Photo credit: Inner_Vision - Getty Images

6. International Space Station

One of the best of the market, the International Space Station (ISS) app enables you to explore the night sky, as well as figure when and where the International Space Station will fly by your home. Great news for those without a telescope.

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7. Solar Walk

Presented as a 3D model of our solar system, this brilliant app lets users engage with planets and stars in a whole new way. You'll discover interesting astronomy facts about planets and stars, satellites, asteroids, comets and other celestial bodies. Great to try if you're looking for a weekend activity.

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8. SkyWiki

If you're intrigued by the night sky but are not sure where to look for all the answers, then SkyWiki is just the app for you. As well as being easy to use, it enables budding astrologers the chance to take a glimpse of the sky as it moves. You'll also find a calendar with important lunar events, astronomy news, a compass and plenty of astronomy photos.

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9. Night Sky

Take tours of the night sky with this simple app. With satellite models displayed on Earth View and improved moon colouring, you'll feel like you're an astronaut exploring space with clever tips and tricks.

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10. Sky Map

Use this clever app to help identify stars, planets, nebulae and much more. Whether you're an eager beginner or a stargazing pro, Star Map can help you discover all you need to know about the night sky.

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Photo credit: Malorny - Getty Images
Photo credit: Malorny - Getty Images

11. SkEye

Get familiar with the sky by identifying stars, planets, and constellations using SkEye — a planetarium app which can also be used as a PUSHTO guide for telescopes. Use it to discover meteor showers, bright comets and deep sky objects.

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12. Star and Planet Finder

To use this app, simply choose a planet from the list, move your device according to the pointer display and you'll be presented with a helpful planet guide. It's also great for learning more about stars, constellations and satellites in the sky.

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13. Pocket Universe

This award-winning astronomy app, which features an augmented reality view of the night sky, lets its users learn about moon phases, see ISS sightings, play quizzes and discover all there is to know about the night sky.

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14. Redshift Sky Pro

This pocket-sized planetarium lets users see what's going on in the night sky, virtually travel through time and watch how the constellations change. But that's not all: you can also explore fascinating 3D models of the planets, moons, asteroids, and many deep-sky objects.

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15. NASA

With over 18,000 images, videos, podcasts, feature stories and a Solar System Exploration feature, the NASA app is perfect for those who are looking to tap into the world of astronomy. Have you tried this one yet?

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16. Star Rover

Do you love looking up at the stars? Well, then this app is just for you, as it enables users to see the stars, moon, planets, constellations in their proper place from any location. Simply change the sky view in settings and use Quick Find for everything you want to know in the night sky.

One user wrote: "Great app. Works perfect. A fantastic companion to the beautiful night sky!"

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17. Stellarium

Featuring a catalogue of over 600,000 stars, Stellarium shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you would see using your binoculars or telescope. It's also great for those without a phone, as its many features can be accessed via a computer browser. Simply click on the link and you'll find all you need at your fingertips.

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18. Polar Scope Align Pro

This app is one that's better for experts, due to its complex nature. According to its description, it "calculates the position of Polaris or σ Octantis in your Polar Scope reticle for your location (using your phone's GPS or manually), allowing a quick and accurate polar alignment".

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