We all know that space is the final frontier. Gene Roddenberry told us that years ago, but it’s a little more accessible than it once was thanks to a flurry of iOS apps that mean you can check it out for yourself in a way.
Here are 10 apps that are great at offering you some insight into space no matter where in the world you may be.
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1. The Night Sky ($0.99) - A remastered version of the exceptional app -- Night Sky -- The Night Sky is fascinating to use. Simply point your iPhone or iPad into the sky, and the app will identify stars, planets, constellations and even satellites, so that you know exactly what's going on up there. In coordination with your Apple Watch, you can even receive notifications on the best times for stargazing and keep up with all kinds of space news.
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2. SkyView Free (Free) - SkyView works in a similar way to The Night Sky, but for free. While it's not quite as stylish, its augmented reality support means you can easily see what's going on above you at all times of day. A time travel feature also means you can jump to the future and the past to see how things looked differently back then. Reminders can also be set for important dates in the stargazing calendar.
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3. NASA (Free) - NASA has its own official app, and it's pretty useful. You can use it to watch over 10,000 on-demand NASA videos, along with many different images from space. Information is provided on the latest NASA missions, along with internet streaming radio and NASA TV functionality. It'll give you a heads up on forthcoming events too.
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4. Space Images (Free) - Offering even more fantastic images from space, Space Images includes footage of space, stars and planets, all courtesy of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Once you've extensively explored the many different categories, you can easily turn these photos into your phone's background or share them with friends. Captions fill in the gaps with what's going on.
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5. Exoplanet (Free) - Exoplanet credits itself as a visual catalogue of all known exoplanets (planets orbiting stars beyond our Solar System), and it's certainly expansive. Frequently updated every time a new one is discovered, it offers information on the physical properties, along with a 3D model of our Milky Way to pinpoint the locations. An augmented reality map means you can point your iPhone into the sky to see exactly where the exoplanets are.
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6. SkyORB (Free) - Offering a 3D star map, 3D planetarium and an extensive search engine, SkyORB is a Swiss Army Knife of options. It's fast loading and lightweight in size, meaning you can soon dive into checking out the sky rendering it achieves, and learning more about all the sightings in the sky. A weather forecast and moon phase diary backs things up extensively.
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7. SkySafari 5 Pro ($39.99) - An expensive solution, SkySafari 5 Pro is impressively extensive. The app offers the largest database of any astronomy app, providing you with information on every solar system object ever discovered, amongst many other things. Each day, you can check the Tonight at a Glance section to see just what's going on and what you can spot at any time. There's a catalogue of 25 million stars from both Hubble Guide Star catalogs too.
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8. Pocket Universe ($2.99) - Pocket Universe gives you a chance to explore the Solar System, participating in virtual walks on the surface of the Moon and mars, as well as checking out all the stars of the Solar System. Each night, it dispenses some advice on what to do and what to look out for, with built-in quizzes helping boost your knowledge.
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9. Star Walk ($2.99) - Star Walk is another app that allows you to "see" space through an Augmented Reality interface. You can easily use it to seek out other stars too, and determine exact positions of things, while also consulting a calendar of events to see when's the right time to check it out. A picture of the day helps those with limited time too.
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10. Solar Walk ($2.99) - Offering a real time 3D solar system model, you can navigate between planets, see their positions on any specific date, and explore how and why they move how they do. Alongside that is information on the inner structures, the history of their exploration, and details on the geography of each planet. It's an ideal educational tool for young and old.