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Astronomy applications for mobile devices

Astronomy applications for mobile devices
Astronomy applications for mobile devices

From an encyclopedia to star finders by way of educational games and even telescope control, there are a host of astronomy applications out there for mobile devices. But, just like stars, not all these apps shine with the same brightness. Here are a few suggestions:

SkySafari 5

This application has established itself as the queen of astronomy apps for a number of years. In compass mode it allows you to hold your device up to the sky to identify the objects on display, both during the day and at night. Looking for Saturn or any other celestial body? SkySafari 5 directs you to them and gives you access to a wealth of information. Controls are intuitive and powerful. The advanced versions allow you to leave the Earth in order to navigate in space, and even to control certain motorized telescopes.

  • Platform: iOS, Android
  • Language: English only
  • Price: basic version $3.99 (Android) or $13.99 (iOS); advanced versions up to $84.99

Astro 3D+

A good French alternative to SkySafari, this application is also equipped with a compass mode. It makes it possible to explore the sky and its constellations by way of the classical mythological figures or else more playful drawings. Astro 3D+ links directly to the Wikipédia page of the selected object to provide you with even more information. In navigation mode you can move from one celestial body to another across the planets, stars and galaxies.

  • Platform: iOS
  • Language: English, French, etc.
  • Price: $3.99

Star Chart

A free application with stylish graphics but with more limited features, Star Chart magnificently represents the sky in the places and at the time desired. With a click you leave the Earth to reach the bodies of the solar system by way of the most cinematic type of animation. There are in-app upgrades for adding features such as satellites or meteorite showers to the database.

  • Platform: iOS, Android
  • Language: English, French, etc.
  • Price: basic version free; advanced version $4.99

Other applications worth mentioning:

  • Exoplant. Perfect for staying on top of the most recent discoveries in the exciting world of exoplanets.
  • Planets. A good reference for planet ephemerides, with a simple and effective interface.
  • Brian Cox’s Wonders of the Universe. An extension of the excellent BBC series, a guided tour to the different levels of the Universe.
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