The vastness of outer space is something that has riveted humanity since the beginning of time. Our forefathers traversed the oceans by charting the stars. The great astronomer Galileo Galilei and his telescope helped establish the fact that the universe does not revolve around Earth. And lest we forget the numerous space-themed television shows and blockbusters that have graced our screens.
Before we continue waxing lyrical on the impact of the cosmos, not all of us are destined to be the next Galileo. But that doesn’t mean we can’t try. Four centuries since he first turned his lens towards our moon, technology has advanced in ways Galileo’s detractors could never have imagined. Now, we don’t even need a telescope to embark on our journey to become stargazers — all you need is on your smartphone.
These astronomy apps that you can download today will kickstart your adventure into exploring an infinite playground that is right at your doorstep. All you have to do is to look up.
The defacto agency when it comes to all things space, NASA’s app is a behemoth, a cornucopia of resources for the budding space traveller. Browse through over 15,000 images of our universe, stream the NASA TV live as it broadcasts our big blue marble in high-definition glory, and track the International Space Station as it orbits our globe.
Your smartphone is now your lens to the galaxies, thanks to Sky Guide, a winner of the Apple Design Award. Just hold it up to the skies and it will tell you what you’re seeing from a catalogue boasting 1.7 billion stars. The app works with or without a signal, even when you’re out camping in the wilderness.
Night Sky makes the most out of Apple’s augmented reality toolkit, transforming your iPhone into your personal planetarium. You can even bring entire solar systems into your room with their latest feature, AR Grand Orrery. Walk up to Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, or take a look at how the Martian night looks like.
Starlight AR is a gorgeous, minimalistic app for the astronomer in you. Like a telescope, point it towards a spot in the night sky that you want to learn about, and it’ll pull up facts and trivia about the stars. The app also includes folklore for behind constellations, like Ursa Major and Aquarius.
Improving on the award-winning Star Walk app, Star Walk 2 is this generation’s stargazing tool that sets to bedazzle. It is filled with features that will leave you in wonder: 3D models of celestial bodies, the ability to “control time” to see the past and the future of the stars, and a night mode that makes using the app at night much easier.