What is the best stargazing app? The top 5 to download - BBC Science Focus  Magazine

The night sky is truly a magical thing but to the uninitiated, it can be bewildering. But don’t despair, getting a handle on astronomy is, in fact, far easier than you think. Particularly if you’ve got one of these handy star-gazing apps downloaded to your iPhone.

Dispensing with the need to study sky charts for hours or invest in a top-of-the-range telescope, these apps will let you catch the best celestial events the night sky has to offer. From Mars and Jupiter, to Orion’s Belt and the Andromeda Galaxy and even the International Space Station, you’ll see plenty if you’ve got astronomy apps to hand. Take a look, there’s bound to be a star-gazing download worthy of your home screen.

But don’t forget, if you’re busy staring up at the heavens with your phone in your hand it’s all too easy for an accident to happen. That’s why iPhone insurance is so important to arrange, too. So, before heading out, give the helpful team at Gadget Cover a call and discuss your insurance requirements today.

Discovering the wonders of the night sky with easy-to-use apps

Whether you’re looking for an introduction to stargazing or know the night sky like the back of your hand, this selection of user-friendly apps is sure to prove invaluable. They really are brilliant for spotting our favourite constellations, getting further information on the Earth’s neighbouring planets, identifying stars and so much more. All without the need for expensive equipment. And all easy to use from the convenience of your back garden. After all, we can’t all afford telescopes or the cost of travel to an International Dark Sky Reserve.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s take a look at the best stargazing apps to download right now.

  1. Star Walk 2 (iOS, Android)

Exploring the deep sky both during the night and day is easy with this astronomical app. It includes a star and planet finder, and lots of information about constellations, planets, satellites, asteroids and comets to keep you entertained. Ideal for those wanting to brush up on their knowledge from the comfort of their own home. It’s got a great mode where you can zoom forwards and backwards in time to see the position of stars during different time periods.

  1. SkyView Lite (iOS, Android)

Downloaded over 27 million times and garnering thousands of rave reviews, SkyView Lite is an absolute gem of an app with which to become more familiar with the night sky. Set handy reminders for celestial events so you can plan an evening of stargazing with friends and family. And if you spot something amazing, capture and share beautiful images on social media.

Plus, to help maintain your night vision, it also comes equipped with red or green night-mode screen filters. So, you won’t trip over and damage your device in the dark. Remember iPhone insurance from Gadget Cover provides great cover against such accidents.

  1. Star Chart (iOS, Android)

Regarded as one of the best educational and augmented reality astronomy apps, Star Chart is perfect for all the family. An intuitive app, it displays all 88 constellations, featuring the stunning artwork of 17th Century astronomer Johannes Hevelius, as well as  the complete catalogue of 110 exotic deep sky objects compiled by 18th Century French astronomer Charles Messier. It also includes a very powerful zoom function, and the ability to simply tap on an object to find out more about it.

  1. Star Tracker (iOS, Android)

Showing you 88 constellations, over 8,000 stars and deep-sky objects, Star Tracker is a great little mobile planetarium. There are some great graphics to enhance the 12 zodiac signs and other famous celestial objects. The inexpensive Pro version also includes more deep sky objects to explore and a night mode switch to help with night vision when stargazing outdoors.

  1. SkySafari (iOS, Android)

Appealing to both amateur as well as professional stargazers, this app combines professional telescope astronomy software with a rich database of stars, planets and other celestial objects. It really is a very beautiful app with precise graphics and animated visualisations to give you the history, mythology and science behind these stars. In-app purchases are well worth the money, allowing you to unlock narrated tours of the heavens, orbit mode, and galaxy view.

If you outgrow the app then there’s also the highly regarded SkySafari 6 Pro option available to move on to – although its hefty price tag and somewhat overwhelming layout might put off beginners.

  1. International Space Station (iOS, Android)

The night sky also has some amazing man-made objects floating around in it, if you know where to look. Making a brief appearance around twice a day for just a few minutes is the remarkable International Space Station (ISS). This app is the easiest way to spot the ISS. It also helps you explore the night sky while you wait. It’s got an alert function and will even check the weather conditions so you need never miss this modern space spectacle again. After all, the ISS is traveling at about 17,100 miles per hour, so it’s very easy to miss.