Apps to explore the space
Apps to explore the space

From the first moon landing, back in 1969, many people imagined that by the beginning of the 21st century, space travel would become routine and that we would be visiting other planets in our solar system and even daring to venture into interstellar space.
Unfortunately, that future has not yet arrived. In fact, some people wonder if it is really necessary to make more space travel because of how expensive they are. Was not going to the moon good enough?

For those who have always dreamed of humans becoming a true space race, they argue that exploring space provides practical benefits in areas such as health, mining and security. And more inspiring benefits, too. These are some of the most convincing arguments to continue the exploration of space.

If we do not want to follow the path of the dinosaurs some day, we must protect ourselves from the threat of being hit by a large asteroid, for example.

In addition, a long list of gadgets have been developed for the US space program. UU but they found other applications on Earth, so many that NASA has an office that looks for ways to reuse space technology as products. We all know about lyophilized foods, but there are many others. In the 1960s, for example, NASA scientists developed a plastic coated with a metallic reflecting agent. When used on a blanket, it reflects about 80% of a user’s body heat, a skill that helps accident victims and athletes stay warm.

So things,We all know it’s fun to learn about space, right? While we still can not take a vacation in space, there are still some opportunities to learn more about our solar system and other worlds. A good way to do this is by using one of the many applications available to observe the cosmos.
Our smartphones, in combination with augmented reality, offer a fantastic way to explore the sky and discover the many wonders of the universe. Most applications of astronomy and star observation work in a similar way: they determine our location using the GPS sensor  and the electronic compass on the device, which allows us to simply point the phone or tablet in any direction, see things that otherwise they would be visible only with expensive and professional equipment.


How could it be otherwise, our first stop on the road is the NASA application. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is known for its ongoing effort to help the public learn about the universe. Its application is replete with the latest images, videos, mission information, news, stories, tweets and even an access to NASA television.

The application uses a simple design consisting of 9 tiles placed in a grid on the main screen of the application. Each mosaic represents a category of content, so it is very easy to navigate to what interests us the most. You can share any content on social networks at the touch of a button or save it using the bookmarks feature. NASA knows that images of deep space create wonderful wallpapers, so they allow users to save them on their mobile devices.
There is also a list that is continually updated of the next opportunities for observation of the ISS, which is particularly useful if you combine the NASA application with an application of observation of stars of augmented reality, such as Sky Map.

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2Sky Map

It is possible that this application sounds more like Google Sky Map, since it was the original name of the application. It is a way of seeing the sky with a viewer from outer space. The first version of the application was released there on January 20, 2012 and was released under the open source license Apache 2.0.
The team behind the application wanted to make it easier for users to learn about the night sky. Therefore, Sky Map is available for free in the Google Play store and does not include any purchase in the application. More than 10 million people have already downloaded it. The first thing to do after installing the application is to calibrate the compass on the mobile. Following a few simple steps you will be ready in a few seconds. After that, point the device anywhere to see what’s in the sky. Using the icons on the left, you can filter various types of celestial bodies to easily discover what you are looking for. You can also search for a particular planet or star.

3Star Chart

Star Chart is an augmented reality star observation application that provides an incredible window to the universe. Like Sky Map, it uses the compass and GPS of the smartphone to locate where the user is and then shows the night sky as if the user is looking through a telescope. The application is used by more than 20 million people around the world, and for good reason. Compared to Sky Map, Star Chart offers basically the same experience but with a serious improvement in several key aspects. To begin with, the calibration process of the compass is very simple and the increase in itself is much smoother than in Sky Map, and you really feel that the application responds fluidly to each of your movements while you look at the sky. Last but not least,
The only thing you should keep in mind is that the application comes with in-app purchases, such as the ability to track comets, meteor showers or satellites.

4Stellarium Mobile Sky Map

This application is unique among all the other applications in this list, since its history dates back to 2001, when Fabien Chéreau, a French programmer, launched the PC version. Since then, the application has migrated to Linux, Windows, Mac OS X and, recently, also to mobile devices with Symbian, Maemo, Android and iOS.
The application is described as a full-featured planetarium for smartphones. It has an amazing catalog of more than 600,000 stars that are displayed as a zoom map of the sky in real time. Some nebulae and galaxies even come with high definition images. The main planets and moons of the solar system are represented in 3D.
The application does not include any purchase but is not available for free. It costs 2.59 euros. Worth it.


Terminal Eleven SkyView is an excellent all-in-one star observation  and sky guidance application. SkyView uses the screen and mobile sensors to give us a view of augmented reality of what is happening in the sky. We can turn our smartphones and tablets into Augmented Reality viewers to identify stars, planets and constellations. The application shows information about the selected objects, planets and satellites. It also includes a “time travel” function that allows us to see the sky as seen in the past, or as it will look in the future, depending on what astronomy knows about the movements of each object.

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6Night Sky

Night Sky (on iOS (and Night Sky Lite (on Android) is another great application that takes full advantage of the mobile operating system to offer a heavenly map of augmented reality of wonderful aspect.) Users can see thousands of stars, satellites, planets and In addition, for iOS users, with the support of Apple Watch we will have the map of the sky on our wrist Users can hold the Apple Watch to identify objects in the sky, or look down to see a “heavenly compass” which gives an overview of the visible objects that night A free version of Android, Night Sky Lite, is available for mobile users on Google Play.

7Pocket Universe

Pocket Universe for iOS is another excellent all-in-one sky observation application that provides both a  portable sky map and a host of extras such as augmented reality modes. Users can see a map of the sky, complete with labels and constellations, as well as track individual objects and planets (with the “show me” mode to guide the goal). The application includes additional activities and resources, such as contests and Wikipedia links to various objects. Of course, it is not free. It costs 2.99 euros. In Android there is Pocket Universe – 3D Gravity Sandbox, a game of the most instructive in which you can create the solar system. Nor is it free, it costs 2.29 euros.

8Star Walk 2

Star Walk 2 by Vito Technologies is a sample of augmented reality stars that presents the stars and planets in the sky above your head. In addition, the application includes detailed information about the history and mythology of the various constellations, stars and planets, as well as a coordinate viewer for easy reference. A temporary slider (like a time machine) will allow us to see the skies of the past or the future, and we can touch individual objects to get more details about them. It is available for both Android and iOS.

9Solar Walk 2

Instead of a virtual planetarium, Solar Walk 2 is a pocket ship, which models the position of the sun, planets, moons and other celestial objects in our solar system. Fantastically well animated and illustrated, users can approach each of the planets, moons and even a series of spacecraft and satellites to see impressive images, infographics and detailed reviews of each object. We can also get away and see the entire solar system in motion. The application is available on iOS and Android devices.

10Sky Guide AR

Sky Guide (iOS) is a handy map of the sky assisted by GPS and a reconnaissance tool to detect and identify constellations, stars, planets and satellites. The application includes an augmented reality view that overlays the star map in the camera view. As with the best stellar map apps, Sky Guide uses the sensors and the mobile screen to show a map of the sky wherever the phone is pointing, identifying stars and planets. In addition to showing the sky as it is now, you can also -as with other applications we have seen- travel in time to see the sky as it was or it will be on specific dates. Apple Watch support allows you to receive notifications of data as if the International Space Station is passing over or some lunar complication.

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11Sky Safari

An application very detailed and is popular Sky Safari (Android, iOS). It contains a rich offline database of stars and planets. We will also find animated visualizations of a variety of phenomena such as eclipses and meteor showers, detailed reports and astronomical information about a great variety of celestial objects. In the case of iOS, the integration of Apple Watch allows sending information to the wrist device. Even the most advanced versions, Sky Safari Plus and Sky Safari Pro, include an expanded database and more features, such as support for WiFi-controlled telescopes.

12Redshift – Astronomy

Redshift – Astronomy (for both Android and iOS) turns our device into a mobile planetarium. Like Star Walk, you can use the application as a star map by pointing the application skyward to illustrate constellations and celestial objects. In addition, Red Shift presents a 3D mode around the solar system, exploring planets and moons. In addition, the application contains a rich database of more than 100,000 stars and 70,000 deep-sky objects, as well as dwarf planets, comets and asteroids.

13GoSkyWatch Planetarium

This universal iOS application was originally presented with the launch of the iPad 2. GoSkyWatch Planetarium serves as a celestial map and star finder, showing a field of stars labeled according to our current location and orientation of the device, with a search arrow that can guide us towards the star object that we select. We can also adjust the brightness and the night mode to see constellations, experience timelapse animations of the movement of the stars and check the times of sunrise and sunset.

14Space Images

This application developed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of Pasadena, California (USA) presents a large amount of images and interesting data about planets, moons, galaxies and many other things. As you can imagine, you can download all the images you want on your smartphone and put them in the background, for example.


Sister of GoSkyWatch, this application focuses on man-made objects such as satellites and the International Space Station. You can use the application to see the satellites and their orbital track, or turn everything around and see the globe and the satellites that orbit it. You can find predictions for times when the satellite passes over your head and set notifications.


SkEye is a mobile planetarium application for Android devices that is presented as a guide for optical telescopes. It works like most other stellar map applications, with an integrated catalog of stellar objects, a search function and a time machine mode to see the night sky in the past or in the future. You can also connect your Android device to the optical tube assembly of your telescope, and with some alignment calibrations, you can use the application as a guide to align the telescopes to the objects you want to see.

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