How To 

Best Augmented Reality Apps for Stargazing

When you’re new to stargazing and looking for a simple way to learn the positions of the stars and the layout of the constellations in your backyard, the best place to turn is augmented reality. Augmented reality places a computerized version of a particular scene over what you see in the real world. So, when you use an augmented reality stargazing app, you’re seeing the sky as it would look if you had super vision. Pretty amazing, isn’t it? For the best in augmented reality stargazing, turn to these apps:

1. Stellarium (iOS and Android)
By far one of the most popular stargazing apps, Stellarium is available on iOS, Android, and PC. The seamless, simple design, attractive graphics, and ease of use make Stellarium the top choice for a paid AR stargazing app. You can easily see how stars move across the night sky by dragging your screen to accelerate time, and you can zoom in to see stars that are beyond the reach of the human eye.

Price: $2.99 iOS, $3.49 android

2. Star Walk 2 (iOS and Android)
If you find that ads get in the way of your stargazing experience, you might want to upgrade to the paid version of Star Walk 2. This app features a satellite tracker that lets you know when things like the ISS or Hubble Space Telescope are in your neck of the woods, and it also lets you know where deep space objects like nebulae are in the night sky.

Price: Free version with ads, $2.99 to remove ads on iOS and Android

3. SkyView (iOS and Android)
SkyView offers a free version for both iOS and Android, but if you’re an iOS user you have access to a $1.99 paid version. The paid version lets you sync the app with your Apple watch, offers a night mode to preserve your eyesight, and a widget that alerts you to upcoming celestial events. Both iOS and Android versions are compatible with Space navigator binoculars and telescopes.

Price: Free and paid versions available on iOS for $1.99, Free version only on Android

4. Star Tracker (iOS and Android)
If the free version of Star Trackers appeals to you, it’s definitely worth shelling out the $2.99 for the upgraded version. An upgrade gets you zero ads and a full catalogue of 88 constellations and over 100 deep sky objects. It also features a search and guide function that lets you input the object you want to find and guides you to it. To top it all off, when you’re in AR mode, you have access to a 3D compass that lets you know exactly where your searched objects are in relation to celestial bodies around them.

Price: Free, upgrade to pro for $2.99 on iOS and Android
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