Astronomy apps to explore the stars

To celebrate Astronomy Day, we've rounded up the best star-gazing apps...
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Astronomy apps to explore the stars

14th May 2016 is Astronomy Day, so what better time of year to avert our eyes upwards and gaze at the wonders of the universe? To help you in your task, we’ve rounded up some top star-gazing apps that’ll help you get better acquainted with what you're looking at.

Star Walk 2

iOS (£2.29) / Android (£2.99)

Star Walk 2 uses your device’s built-in gyroscope and accelerometer, so you can hold up your phone to match the screen against the backdrop of the sky.

This augmented reality experience is extremely rewarding, and does a great job helping you identify what’s up there in the sky at night. There’s also a selection of fantastic 3D models featured in the app, so you can get up close and personal with even the most distant objects.

SkyView Free

Free on Android and iOS

SkyView

There are loads of apps that help you identify the stars, planets and constellations, but there’s something about SkyView Free that we really like. It runs smoothly on almost any phone, it doesn’t need an internet connection or GPS signal and lets you take augmented reality photos.

That last feature is pretty handy as it means you get a picture of whatever you’re looking at, complete with all the information that the app has on it.

If you’re a bit more serious about your stargazing, the app can even be used with some binoculars and telescopes. Paired with these, it’ll tell you where to point your lens to get an up-close look at some of the best parts of the universe.

NASA App

Free on Android and iOS

NASA App

Who better to tell you all about space than the agency that put men on the moon? The NASA App is packed with great stuff from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, like photos from the Hubble Telescope, videos from the International Space Station (ISS) and details of NASA missions.

There’s even a NASA TV channel in the app that runs a live feed from the ISS and a radio station called ‘Third Rock’ that plays alternative rock music (NASA loves a dodgy pun).

If you want to find out about what the human race is doing in space, you can’t go wrong with this app.

Brian Cox’s Wonders

iOS (£1.49) / Android (£1.19)

Brian Coz's Wonders of the Universe

To get a deep understanding of the universe, you’ll want to explore it with an expert. That’s exactly what Brian Cox’s Wonders lets you do. You can discover everything from how subatomic particles work to how galaxies form, all guided by over two and a half hours of video and more than 200 articles from Professor Brian Cox himself.

The app’s beautifully made, with incredible vistas of our galaxy, walks on the surface of Mars and awe-inspiring tours of black holes.

Do you have an app you already use for exploring the skies? Tell us about it in the comments below.

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

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