Great Android Apps for Astronomers

By Steve McFarlane

Here are some apps that astronomers, nature lovers and those who are generally fascinated by the beauty of the cosmos will find fascinating.

Star Chart

Using state of the art GPS technology, an accurate 3D universe, and all of the latest high tech functionality, Star Chart calculates (in real time) the current location of every star and planet that is visible from Earth and shows you precisely where they are, even in broad daylight. All you need to do is point and view. Alternatively, you can look around the sky using finger gestures instead of pointing the phone to the heavens.

Other notable features include:

  • Supports dynamic device orientation viewing
  • Depicts 5,000 visible stars in both the northern and southern hemispheres
  • Displays all the planets in our solar system, plus the sun and the moon
  • Displays all 88 constellations, with constellation imagery based on artwork by 15th century astronomer Johannes Hevelius
  • Includes entire Messier catalogue of exotic deep sky objects
  • Tap on anything in the sky and get the facts on what you are looking at, including distance and brightness
  • Very powerful zoom function, lets you view the sky in extra detail, using intuitive finger gestures
  • Star Chart displays only the sky objects you are interested in
  • Allow you to view the sky underneath the horizon. So now you can see where the sun is, even at night
  • Manually set your location to find out what the sky looks like from anywhere in the world

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Google Sky Map

Using Google Sky Map is a great way to identify heavenly bodies you have always wanted to have more info on. If you see a star that you want to know the name of, simply load Sky Map and point your Android directly at the star, it will tell you if it is a star, planet or galaxy. If you want to see just planets you can turn off the respective layer. Layers you can play with include stars, planets, horizon and constellations.

If you know exactly what you are looking for you can also do a text search. Once you type in the name of the object you want to find a prompt will come up showing you where to point the phone; once the phone is pointed in the right direction Sky Map will highlight it with a blinking circle. You may find it odd to be pointing your Android at the ground to find a star or planet but that’s normal if you are on the opposite site of the planet in relation to the hemisphere that the object is currently visible from. QR Code

NASA (APOD) Lite Live Wall

This app brings the vivid worlds of space, stars and the cosmos to your phone. We think you will like the NASA Picture of the Day Live Wallpaper feature.

Other features include:

  • Get daily images and random pictures from the NASA (APOD) photo archive
  • Cache photos to SD card
  • Photos have link to detail information
  • Rate individual photos, this influences the likelihood of the photo being shown to you again
  • Customize update and pan/zoom speeds

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Science Facts

This ad supported science app contains thousands of science related facts (Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy, Biology, Inventions etc). The app does have some Astrology bits as well. Some facts and trivia are a bit off, but the app still has lots of useful bits.

  • Lots of facts
  • Intuitive UI
  • Next/Previous fact
  • Random fact

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NASA Images

Has over 500 NASA Space Images with a full description of each. Our only wish is that our phone’s display was a bit larger so we could better enjoy all the color that pops from these images. By the way, you can set an image as the wallpaper if you see one you like. QR Code

Where is Io

‘Where is Io’ is an Android Astronomy app that calculates information on bodies in the solar system. The app also presents some interesting and informative facts such as the radius of planets, their mass and their gravitational pull as well as rise and set visualizations for all the planets. It would have been nice if the app allow the user to specify their current location (hemisphere, time zone) so that the information would be accurate in all locations, but serious astronomers should find the app interesting. QR Code

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One Response to “Great Android Apps for Astronomers”


i have been warned that even tho i turn off the gps in my phone and dissable the geo taging if i down load an app such as this or other star gazing apps, i have to agree to their terms, and its stated that they have the right to turn on the gps and can do so that overides my turning off the gps and they are allowed to track my phone and collect and track data. is there a constelation app for the samsung galaxy proclaim phone that will not or can not over ride my settings or track and collect data? i want controll over my phones gps amd security

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