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App-Tastic: 6 Astronomy Apps We're Over the Moon About

We've been loving these apps for years and thought we'd share. Note: I am not sponsored or affiliated with any companies related to astronomy. These are my unprompted favourites with limited research into the alternatives. Just a short report on where I landed with my apps and why. If a subscription is required I have paid full price. None of these companies know me or that I am endorsing them.


My Astro App Collection

This is what's on my phone. Here's the rundown.


Sky Conditions

The sky is the limit... literally. When you'd like to know if it's going to cooperate with your astronomy plans there are two apps that help you know what's up.


My Clear Sky Clock

CSC is an app I check daily. It shows the quality of the sky for astronomical purposes looking ahead three days. It's good at combining all the factors that can affect whether you have a successful night of celestial pursuit.

A very helpful recent addition is the smoke forecast. It's unfortunate that we need this and it really explained some evenings this summer when Cassiopeia was almost invisible on an otherwise clear evening.


Astrospheric

As a complimentary app to CSC I use Astrospheric. When CSC makes me optimistic about my chances, I use Astrospheric to understand a bit more about the sky conditions in the context of how the atmosphere is moving and especially if there's a chance the scopes might get rained on. If you get a paid subscription you can create weather alarms which are good for those of us who like to nap while the scopes are outside.

In the image on the left is the cloud cover map, in the middle is the transparency map, and on the right is the seeing map. You can move forward in time or run the animation to see how the conditions are moving over an area.


Sky Guide

If you're interested in astronomy, chances are you have a sky map / star chart in your app portfolio. Sky Guide is really convenient and I've been using it for years. It's got a clean and easy to use interface. As an unpaid app it is great for beginners and amateurs.


You can see the interplay of solar system objects against the backdrop of the stars.


The ability of the paid app to zoom is mind boggling.



ASIAIR

There is no way I can fully describe everything that this app and it's associated hardware can do in a mini-review like this. Suffice it to say that if you own an ASIAIR astro computer to control your astronomy gear, you will be using this app. The app is made to interface with the computer, which in turn interfaces with mounts, cameras, focusers and filterwheels. I have tried a few PC based, and a few Raspberry Pi based software packages, but at the end of the day the ASIAIR is the most mature and the most convenient. You need to be careful to stay within the ZWO ecosystem. For example if you already owned a QHY filterwheel like I did, you are not going to be able to interface to the ASIAIR.

Is the ASIAIR product perfect? No. But if you have ZWO ASI products and figure out the quirks it sure is fun!


MoonGlobeHD

It amazes me what is available for free in mobile apps. MoonGlobeHD is a shining example of that. It's just an awesome way to navigate the moon. It's perfect for what it does. Just grab it and enjoy!


Light Pollution Map

Another free app that is very well done. Find out how much light pollution there is in your area. Figure out your next vacation spot based on how much light pollution is there. If light pollution is making you blue, grab this app!


Other Apps

There are many other fine apps, for example Stellarium, that I didn't mention. These six have become my most regularly used so I'm sharing based solely on that, and not saying these are better than others. I'm just saying this is where I landed and I'm pretty happy!

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