REVIEWED: SkySafari stargazing apps and software

Stop saying ‘wow, so many stars’ and instead learn about the night sky with this fabulously detailed app for smartphones and laptops

SkySafariThis is the app real astronomers use, though it’s carefully graded for different kinds of users and also available as desktop software for Apple’s MacBooks and iMacs. Like most of the similar apps, it shows the sky from any place on Earth and moves as your move your smartphone. It also comes with a red-lit Night mode, which you should use every time you’re outside to preserve your dark adaptation.

Basic version

The basic version of SkySafari is more than enough for most of us; it has a database of 46,000 stars and the 220 most famous star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies in the sky.

Pro versions

Perhaps the best thing about SkySafari – whose other (expensive) versions include SkySafari Plus and SkySafari Pro, which add wired or wireless telescope control and Hubble-grade star cataloguing – is its reliance on built-in information rather than relying on web-links, which is what most apps do (and which is useless if you’re in a campsite miles from Wi-Fi). The slight downside is that even the basic SkySafari takes 150MB of space on your smartphone.

Platforms: iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, Android, Mac OS X

Price as reviewed: £1.99-£24.99

Buy SkySafari