Mike's NBC-TV stories

Get Your Galileo On! Take Astronomy to the Next Level with These Stargazing Apps

Summer is right around the corner and with it plenty of stargazing opportunities. A growing number of apps make it so you don’t need a fancy, expensive telescope to get your best Galileo on.

SkyView is an easy to use smartphone or tablet app that provides an impressive look at space. Aim your camera at the skies and get a detailed display on your screen of the galaxies, stars, constellations, planets, even satellites that your device is seeing. Move your camera across the sky and your screen will change, allowing you to explore space from your backyard. Or want to find something specific, like the International Space Station? Arrows will guide you. Skyview is $1.99 and available for Android and iOS, including Apple Watch.

Star Walk is another stargazing app that shows celestial objects in the exact positions above you. It, too, uses your phone’s camera and augmented reality to get a detailed map of stars, galaxies and planets on your screen. There are also cool animated and 3D graphics to make watching the skies even more fun. For all major platforms and the Apple Watch. It’s between $2.50 and $2.99 depending on your version.

Starmap bills itself as a pocket planetarium for iOS, with information on about 350,000 stars, 150 galaxies and clusters, and 50 asteroids and dwarf planets. Find planets and see past and future locations of celestial objects. There’s a cool 3D and HD version for iPad, too. A standard version is $4.99 and the pro version is $16.99.

Check out my report on stargazing apps for NBC below to see them in action:

Mike is a veteran journalist whose video "PC Mike" reports have been distributed weekly to all 215 NBC-TV stations since 1994, making him one of the most experienced tech reporters in the country. His tech stories and videos have appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, the Today Show, The New York Times, USA Today and in numerous national newspapers and magazines. In addition to the PC Mike tech blog, he also publishes the Roadtreking.com RV Travel Blog in which he travels North America in an RV reporting about interesting people and places.