If you’ve ever wanted to explore the night sky with something a little more portable than a telescope, then you should definitely check out the options on these stargazing apps. These free apps make stargazing portable, enjoyable, and affordable.
This article looks at the best free stargazing app options, how they work, what phones they work with, and whether or not you’ll have to deal with pesky interruptions like ads.
Best Free Stargazing App Options
Stargazing App Option #1 – Star Walk
Star Walk actually has multiple interations at this time. There’s Star Walk, Star Walk 2, Star Walk 2 Free, and Star Walk 2 Ads+.
All of them have pretty much the same content – an interactive sky map showing the locations of stars, planets, constellations and more.
What Are The Differences Between Different Versions of Star Walk?
Star Walk is the original version of the app. It was originally developed in 2008 by Vito Technology, for the iOS phone, with a version for the ipad released in 2010.
Star Walk 2 was released in 2014, and is now available for both the iPhone and the Android.
Star Walk 2 has more content and 3D graphic models,
Star Walk 2 Free is the version released for Android Users. Star Walk 2 Ads+ is the version released for the iPhone.
Star Walk 2 Free and Star Walk 2 Ads+ are the free versions, containing ads and in-app purchases.
As a ‘Freemium’ app, Star Walk offers you the option to upgrade to an ads-free (Star Walk 2) version for about $5.
What Do I Need To Know About Star Walk 2?
It’s an interactive map.
It can tell you want is visible in your area at a given time, and when the best observation times are.
The app will inform you about any astronomical events happening in the neat future.
Extensions allow you to explore star clusters, nebulae, galaxies, planets, asteroids and more.
Provides an encyclopedic library of information about various objects.
Allows you to see the sky in real time, or as it’s thought to look in the past, or will look in the future.
Considered by many to be the Number 1 app for budding astronomers.
For Android: Requires Version 4.4 and Up
For iPhone:Requires iOS 11 or later.
Stargazing App Option #2 – Star Tracker
The Star Tracker app shows you 88 constellations and over 8,000 deep sky objects in real time.
It uses a 3D compass to show you the locations of objects you’ve searched for, like a handheld planetarium.
Star Tracker is available for both Android and iOS. The free Apple version is also called Star Tracker Lite.
Star Tracker is a Fremium app – the free version has both ads and in-app purchases, However, you can upgrade to an ads-free Pro Version for $2.99
For Android: Requires Version 4.4 and up
For iPhone: Requires Version 11.0 or later
Stargazing App Option #3 – SkyView Lite
SkyView Lite is the free version of the mobile App SkyView.
Using SkyView or SkyView Lite, you can use your mobile phone to identify various celestial bodies in the night sky, including manmade objects like the International Space Station and satellites.
If you’re keen on learning to find various objects and spot orbital bodies, this is a great app to use.
With the full version, you can even get updates on current events and the brightest objects on a given night.
There are also in-app purchases for the Lite version that will allow you to do the same thing.
SkyView Lite has ads and in-app purchases.
It also has fewer objects loaded into the memory, so it won’t provide the most up-to-date data.
You can update to the full SkyView app for $3 using iOS, and $2 on Android.
For Android: Requires Version 5 or later
For iPhone: Requires iPhone 10 or later
Stargazing App Option #4 – Night Sky
This app from iCandiApps allows you a real-time display of the objects directly above you in the night sky. This app will show you the stars, galaxies, planets and satellites.
This app is only available for iOS phone and requires Version 13.0 or later.
It provides a live 3D representation of the objects in the space located above you.
It’s something like a pocket guide for an amateur astronomer.
There are several apps that perform the same function, and several with superior graphics.
However, this is an excellent app for those who are working from a budget, or still deciding how interested they are in astronomy, or who have older phones with limits on their memory and storage.
Stargazing App Option #5 – Sky Map
The Sky Map app was originally called Google Sky Map. It was released in it’s current form in 2016.
Sky Map is an open-sourced free app, completely free.
Point your phone at the sky, and it will provide a detailed map of all th objects that you’re looking up.
This will even work if you use it during daylight, or if you point your at a location below the horizon line.
The Sky Map app is only available for Android Users.
One nice feature, aside from it’s ability to identify objects in any direction regardless of time, is that it will adapt to any age or size Android device.
There is no version or memory limit for this app.
Stargazing App Option #6 – Sky Safari
The Sky Safari app – the free version – has been compared to having a planetarium in your pocket, with thousands of stars, planets and galaxies at your fingertips.
Though the Sky Safari app is Available for both Android and iOS software, the free version is only offered for Android users.
However, the Plus and Pro versions for the iOS platform are cheaper than their Android equivalents.
Sky Safari is actually a Freemium app, with Plus and Pro tiers of content beyond the basic free product for each platform.
The free version offers a huge library of content, and the Plus and Pro versions offer interactive displays, views from different points in the solar system, and electronic telescope control.
They also include much more content.
Though older versions are still available, te current up-to-date market version is the Sky Safari 7.
The Android: Requires version 4.4 or higher, and a great deal of memory space, due to the large volume of data.
The iPhone: Requires version 14.1 or later, and a large amount of memory space.
There are many other options out there for viewing the stars.
While the ones above come as some of the highest recommended and most widely used, they’re far from the only options for free stargazing apps out there.
If the ones above don’t seem to be quite what you’re looking for, try experimenting with the following:
Solar Walk 2
Star Map Tracker
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