Mobile Device Astro Apps

Mobile Device Astro Apps

Postby william-kowalczyk » Wed Jul 17, 2013 8:56 pm

Hey HAS!

I recently spent some time in the Apple App Store to see what was available for astronomy and after looking through over 500 applications and downloading / reviewing about 75 of them (most of them free), I have distilled things down to a fairly short list of applications I found informative, inspiring, useful, easy to use, or just plain fun. If you know of other great apps, I encourage you add to this list. I have listed only a few apps that cost more than a few bucks for obvious reasons. There are several more apps out there that cost quite a bit; however, I have elected to not post any information about the more expensive well known apps. I also don't intend this to be, in any way, a complete listing of apps available.

Note: If you don't like Apple products, I encourage you to post your own version of this list for your favorite device. Enjoy!

Scope Nights: Astronomy Weather Reports - $2.99

Great little app that breaks down the weather forecast specifically for observers. You can even customize some of the app features to show good or bad conditions based on what you are willing to put up with. One drawback is that the app refreshes every time it is pulled up vs. on demand or at a lesser interval.

myCSC - Free!

Carry your favorite Clear Sky Charts (CSC) in your pocket! Amateur astronomers in North America monitor local sky conditions using the CSC web sites which provide a very detailed 48 hour color coded observing forecast chart for cloud cover, transparency, seeing and other factors. This app contains a database of more than 4000 forecast.

Next best thing to going to the website and pulling up your CSC and you get to see your 3 favorite charts at a glance.

Sky Harbinger -Free!

If you like a screen full of data, this is your application. This app automatically detects your location and pulls in the forecast with the following parameters for the next 72 hrs: Cloud cover, Seeing, Trans, Temp, RH, DP, Precip., Wind, and Moon%. Some features of the app cause a server time out, but still worth having since its FREE.

Redshift - Astronomy - $11.99

Worth every penny. Just check it out, if you are looking for it, it's probably in the app. (app tracks the sky)

Star Walk - $2.99

Budget version of Redshift, but still an amazing product with over 6 million downloads. Hope the publisher is enjoying his/her early retirement. I really really like the "skylive" feature, it allows one to quickly run thru rise set times and illumination phase data on the fly. Go get it! (app tracks the sky)

Solar Walk - $2.99

Our solar system at your finger tips. Eye candy for when you have nothing better to do than indulge yourself in your favorite pastime (in day light or on a cloudy night of course :-)). Comes with that great planetarium sound.

Moon Globe - Free!

I am getting started on the Astronomical League's Lunar Observation program, and I decided to grab this one. You can't do better for free I'd bet. You can search the index within the app to locate specific features, spin the moon as if you are God, and you can change perspective and lighting at will to see how it affects various features. Great App!

ISS Visibility - $1.99

I use this app all the time. I especially like the ground plot feature. It really helps the user figure out where to look for the ISS without having to do mental gymnastics. I like to take screen shots and share sighting opportunities with friends and family. Its also fun when someone asks if they can see the ISS tonight; I just pull out the app, hit the refresh button and give the answer. Fun factor = high; especially when the ISS is actually going to fly by or is that bright object flying by.

Meteor Shower Calendar - Free!

Ever witnessed a meteorite streaking by and wondered if there was an active shower? This app will tell you.

Comet - Comet Ephemerides - Free!

With Comet ISON looming large I decided to check this one out. Shows a list of known comets and can be sorted with various parameters. Useful and informative. Why not? Its FREE.

Glossary of Astronomical Terms - $1.99

Need I say more?

Soho Viewer - Free!

Like the sun? Want to see the latest imagery from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SoHO)? Get it! Also check out i3DSun or 3D Sun- Free!

APOD Viewer - Free!

Like to pull up the Astronomy Picture Of the Day and read tid bits about the universe?; grab this app. Think great wall paper for your iPhone or iPad.

Cosmic Universe - Free!

Just like one of those science shows that talks about the structure of the universe and showed you one of those amazing 3D views of the cosmos; however, you are in control. Get this freebie and have a look around. It tracks the sky with an overlay of the galactic super clusters, gasses, and dark matter. Total eye candy.

PTT Universe - Free!

Description: Access a universe of knowledge about the Universe with the Portal to the Universe app! Designed in a magazine style, this free app brings the latest scientific breakthroughs gathered from hundreds of news and blog sources every day. It’s never been easier to be well informed about the latest space news.

So far this app has delivered.

New General Catalogue (NGC) List - Free!

A simple interface app that can help ID what a particular NGC is; though not a complete list, it could be useful in a pinch.

Again, please feel free to expand this list with your favorites.

Last edited by william-kowalczyk on Thu Jul 18, 2013 1:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mobile Device Astro Apps

Postby edward-fraini » Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:49 am

Thanks for the research, I am going to add a couple of these to my app library.
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Re: Mobile Device Astro Apps

Postby edward-fraini » Thu Jul 18, 2013 9:00 am

Here is what I have, before adding some of Bill's, on my Iphone. Some where free and some not. The order listed is by frequency of use:

ScopeTools, Phases, Astroplanner, Star Charts, Astroclock, StarmapPro,
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Re: Mobile Device Astro Apps

Postby william-kowalczyk » Thu Jul 18, 2013 1:23 pm

Chris had some great additions too:

Good list, some of which I use already and a couple you introduced me to. I was always curious about Redshift but didn’t want to blow $12 to find out.

I’ll add my few I find useful to the list. I use them primarily on an iPad.

SkySafari – THE best star chart app out there for mobile devices. I use this on the Dob for star hopping and haven’t had to use a paper chart in a long time. Stars and galaxies down to 18th mag. Remote telescope control via Skyfi or other methods. They have 3 different versions from Free to $40. The $40 pro version is well worth it.

Satellite Safari – $4.99 By the makers of SkySafari. Good satellite and iridium flare tracking software with multiple views.

Skyweek – Free Sky & Telescope application listing notable event for the upcoming weeks.

TriAtlas – Free –implementation of the free sky atlas, TriAtlas. Extremely detailed charts considering it’s free. Stars down to 11th mag.

SolarCalc – Free SolarCalc is a utility to calculate sun and moon rise and set times at your current location. SolarCalc will also display lunar phase dates as well as the Julian Day, Greenwich Universal Time, Greenwich Sidereal Time and Terrestrial Dynamical Time.
Displays latest sun images from the Solar & Heliospheric Observatory
Display's Civil, Nautical, and Astronomical twilight times.
Displays Sun and Moon Right Ascension and Declination.
Displays Sun and Moon Altitude and Azimuth.
Display's Moon age, distance and apparent size.

Orbit Architect – Free Pretend you’re Bill and working for NASA  Interactively design and explore satellite orbital geometry. Manipulate each orbital element and see how the orbit and ground track respond.
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Re: Mobile Device Astro Apps

Postby chris-ober » Thu Jul 18, 2013 9:29 pm

Forgot to add WolframAlpha to my list. Not just for astronomy. Man I love that app :)
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Re: Mobile Device Astro Apps

Postby kdrake » Wed May 16, 2018 8:10 am

I have not seen any mention of "Observatory". It's been around for ~8 years but I had never seen it. It is an absolutely beautiful display that displays a huge amount of astronomical information at one time. It will run on an older IPad Check it at.... ... 04759?mt=8
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Re: Mobile Device Astro Apps

Postby barneyj » Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:03 pm

I found for polar alignment the Free app SkyView Lite

It has a reticle with real time coordinates that can be enabled through its setup menu.
Setting > Display > Coordinates Display then select from RA/Dec or Alt Az

Then simply place your phone against your scope and adjust the mount until the phone's Dec reads as close to 90 as possible.

For Messier objects, I like the free app Star Charts.
The objects are clearly marked and easy to find in its compass driven star charts.
I disable the constellation illustration and enable the Messier objects in the apps setup menu.
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