One of the simplest yet most mesmerizing moments of our childhoods was looking up the sky, beholding its mysterious glory. Even at our prime, the night sky has remained a wonderful mystery to all of us as the complexities of the universe. It’s beyond what our bare eyes can fathom.
But gone are the days when we only get a taste of the heavens’ mysteries through high-powered telescopes. Using only your trusty iPhone, we can now experience the skies so much more than what we see from the Earth. There are tons of stargazing apps on the App Store, but not all of them are decent enough to satiate your love for anything heavenly. If you’ve been looking for the best stargazing apps for your iPhone but don’t seem to find the right one, look no further. Here are 5 of the best stargazing apps you’ll ever need:
1. Sky Guide
Price: $2.99 [Download]
With over 2.5 million stars in its catalog, Sky Guide is one of the largest and best astronomy apps that you can download for your iPhone. With the aid of a built-in compass, Sky Guide makes locating stars, constellations, planets, satellites, and other celestial bodies a breeze. Just hold up your iPhone to automatically align the app to the stars and get gorgeous graphic-rich images and informative descriptions.
Sky Guide has an option to notify you whenever the International Space Station flies over your location, any solar activity, rise and set times of the sun, moon, and planets, etc. Meanwhile, the red night mode comes in handy to help your eyes adapt to low-light conditions. Making your stargazing experience even more fascinating is the time-lapse feature that shows where the moon and other objects will position later, perfect if you’re into sky photography.
It works without an internet connection so you can use it just about anywhere — on top of the mountains, on camping trips, at home — you name it. If you want to get closer and more personal to these stars, the premium Supermassive add-on enables you to see high-definition zoomed images of these celestial bodies, access 680 times larger catalog, and cinematic night sky tours.
2. Star Walk 2
Price: Free [Download]
A sequel to the original Star Walk, one of the best stargazing apps out there, Star Walk 2 offers a more different and improved stargazing experience, with new fascinating design and simpler yet more vibrant user interface.
Star Walk 2 now has 3D models of celestial bodies, making your experience with the new app more immersive. That on top of the stirring visual and sound effects and soundtrack. You also get exclusive access to handcrafted artwork for constellations inspired by low poly art.
Using your iPhone’s sensors and the GPS, Star Walk 2 lets you see the night sky in all its glory right through your device screen, and you can track them in real time. Use the augmented reality and/or the night mode for the best stargazing experience. Since this is a free app, expect ads to interrupt your stargazing experience more frequently.
While ads are necessary for developers to maintain their apps and to compensate their efforts, many users of star Walk 2 have been crabby about the excessive and intrusive showing of these on the app, which definitely dwindles the overall user experience.
3. Night Sky
Price: Free [Download]
Night Sky is a personal planetarium built on an incredible augmented reality engine to give users a comprehensive experience in astronomy and celestial navigation. By pointing your iPhone towards the sky, the app quickly identifies planets, stars, comets, constellations, satellites, and other heavenly bodies. Like Sky Guide, you can also get notified with Night Sky when the International Space Station falls on your location.
It’s easy to see what’s happening on the sky in a live 3D map through beautiful illustrations of the heavenly bodies and satellites. The nifty integrated weather reports help you identify the best times for stargazing. Among other cool features, Night Sky allows you to pull celestial bodies and look at them in 3D augmented reality with detailed information that you can share with anyone via iMessage.
4. SkyView Lite
Price: Free [Download]
SkyView Lite uses your iPhone’s camera to spot and identify heavenly objects whether it’s day or night and show them to you in a stunning form of augmented reality. Use the alarm to remind you of celestial events. Follow the tracks of the sun and moon and know their exact location on the sky at any date and time in the future. Best of all? You can use SkyView Lite without an internet connection.
Unfortunately, SkyView Lite doesn’t have an augmented reality support at this point, which means you’ll have to put up with its basic, less immersive 2D design. If you’re looking for more, the pro version of SkyView Lite features Apple Watch support, a widget that shows the brightest celestial body of the night, and more. But setting that aside, SkyView Lite is an amazing free stargazing app for your iPhone.
Price: $24.99 [Download]
Luminos might be costly for most of us, this award-winning astronomy app isn’t for every astronomy geek. It’s taking stargazing to a whole new level with its jaw-dropping simulation of the space. It now has the largest catalog available on mobile apps, boasting over 113 million stars ranging from ancient constellations to the human-made satellites.
Luminos helps you track 3d meteor showers, name moon craters, travel through time, watch solar system on a different perspective, and even take a close look at the most dangerous asteroids surrounding the Earth. Whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional astronomer, Luminos is something that you’ll definitely take delight in.
That’s it for the best stargazing apps for your iPhone. We hope you took something from this list. What’s your favorite celestial body? Let us know in the comments below!