Star-gazing Apps – SkyView Free & Star Walk

SkyView App

While it starts to get warm, I hope pretty soon we will be able to walk outside in the yard or in the street at night. Every time, when we are out at night, my son likes to point at the stars telling me which is which. I don’t know much about the stars, so I did some search on apps that can help me learn about the sky. It is amazing how many astronomy apps are out there, ranging from very basic to very professional. It took me a while to focus down on two – “SkyView Free” and “Star Walk“. Fun Star Gazing Apps

Both apps can show you the stars and constellations while you hold your iPhone or iPAD up, like you are going to take a picture of the sky. The app will show you the stars you can see from your location on the device’s screen. While you move your device, the view will change with your move. If you tap on a star, or a constellation, the facts about that tapped object will show up at the bottom of the screen, such as name, location. If you want to learn a particular star or constellation, you can go to the list to find your object of interest. In addition to displaying information, you will also see an arrow on the screen to direct you to where it is.

The difference between SkyView Free and Star Walk:

SkyView Free has less facts and data. There is a premium version. If you are at a level beyond SkyView Free, I suggest you get Star Walk, instead of SkyView premium.  At $2.99, Star Walk offers much more facts and better pictures.  For example, it has a calendar of celestial events like planetary alignments, full moons, solar eclipses, and meteor showers.  There is a quick live sky one page that details when planets will rise and set.  With only $1 more, this is a much better deal.

iGameMom Comment:

For general learning with kids, or family fun, go with SkyView Free.  If you are getting serious about learning astronomy, starts with Star Walk.  Of course, if you want to go even further, there are more advanced astronomy apps, such as SkySafari.

If you would like to check it out or purchase it, please use the App Store button provided below. The cost is the same to you, but iGameMom gets a small percentage. Thanks for your support!  Note: the button works for all countries. 

SkyView (Free) SkyView Free     Star Walk ($2.99) Star Walk

Like to receive future articles for FREE? Sign Up Below!

{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

ethan April 5, 2013 at 7:04 pm

i disagree with your recommendation of starwalk over skyview.
eg the free version of skyviewfree provides you with a onscreen elevation and azimuth – this allows you to locate the exact position you are pointing to in the sky. eg it allows you to pinpoint the location of an iridium flare.
wheres with the starwalk you have no indication of these vital locations.
secondly the compass calibration in starwalk for the iphone does not show up on the iphone screen. therefore location is to the nearest city. – what you are looking at on the screen is not what you see above – it is inaccurate.
the skyview calibrates exact compass location so what you see on the screen is what you see above.
this makes the starwalk a very pretty app but useless because of its inaccuracy.
will they give me a refund? lol
thus, i think u should reevaluate your recommendation for starwalk over the free skyview

Reply

iGameMom April 5, 2013 at 11:58 pm

Thanks for sharing your opinion. Our recommendation is based on several factors, and it is for family use with kids. Cost, how easy it is for kids to learn, how easy it is for family members to interact over the content, … As I mentioned in the post, there are more advanced apps if you want to go deeper …

Reply

Peggy March 16, 2013 at 3:35 am

What great apps – for the whole family, too! Thanks for recommending them. I plan on pointing my camera more at the night sky this year, I think your apps just might come in handy for this. And a big THANK YOU as well, for “liking” my blog. I’m linking back to you in tonight’s post (both of your blogs).

Reply

iGameMom March 16, 2013 at 3:11 pm

They are amazing apps, making the star gazing more fun. Thanks for the links on your site, you have an interesting site.

Reply

Pam B December 23, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Thanks so much! I’ve been longing for something like this and will buy from your link.

Reply

iGameMom December 26, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Glad you stopped by. Please let me know which one you got and if you like it.

Reply

Peter November 10, 2012 at 8:18 am

Thank you. Very good to know. — So far I still use maps and a red light flash when I am outside watching stars. … :0)

Reply

iGameMom November 11, 2012 at 11:01 pm

The app offers a lot more! You should definitely try it.

Reply

bookquoteshub November 7, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Your blog site is unique and I loved it.I think you should think of adding like ( add love button for me :) ) I especially loved the blog about the app teaching kids to count to 10 in 12 languages.
I love anything and everything about knowledge and respect people who are educating others too spending their precious time.
I share quotes from books on BookQuotesHub website.

Reply

iGameMom November 11, 2012 at 10:53 pm

Thank you! Yours is a good one – I used to have a notebook to keep the quotes from the books I read. I will try put a like button …

Reply

Trey Montague October 27, 2012 at 4:19 am

I was drawn to your site via a like you added on my SF novel and at first was turned off by the topic about the best kind of ipad covers for BABIES! Babies? Surely not. Then I reasoned that this was probably because many parents want to childproof their gizmos rather than actually allow babies to play computer games rather than interact with humans and tactile objects/plants/animals/etc around them at least, that’s what I hope it was for. On the other hand, these stargazing apps are excellent – makes me wish I had an iphone to put them on! I spend hours looking at the stars with my kids and then discussing time, distance, aliens and the nature of reality/perception, etc, but always stumbled on identifying anything but the plough and the north star. Thanks for posting something which might drag my actual household (rather than just the ones I write about) into the 21st.

Reply

iGameMom October 27, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Before I started this blog, I have limited my son playing games. Now that I found all these good games, I am trying to incorporate them into my son’s learning journey. We cannot stop the new technology, this is the fact. The best we can do is to explore the new world together with our kids, so they don’t have do it all by themselves. If we don’t go with them, they will eventually move forward without us …

Reply

Trey Montague October 27, 2012 at 5:02 pm

I agree up to a point but also think it is terribly important that we get the balance between thinking our kids are ‘born’ to compute/screenwatch (not saying that’s what you think, btw) and helping them to balance this with the ‘real’ world. After all, they don’t realise how new the new technology is, it’s just as normal a part of their world as trees as far as they’re concerned – unlike those of us who were born when computers were in their infancy. NB, that’s why I liked the stargazer app so much – it joins both ‘worlds’ together in a productive, educational way, so well done for highlighting it.

I guess my issue is that I’m extremely wary of letting young kids, whose brains still have so much developing to do, sit and stare at a screen for hours on end. Up until the age of around seven, according to some neuropsychiatric research, this can interfere with the very structuring of the brain and may be at least partially responsible for the increase in (e.g.,) ADHD. At the very least, I think it makes them loose appreciation for the beauty and rawness of the non-screen world, as well as the comparatively slow (and, therefore, they think, boring) timing of the ‘real’ world around them. So, I’ve shied away from things that require/take apps, from x boxes and DS’s, etc., and have fallen to a happy medium of allowing them to watch videos and DVDs (within reason), and play computer games a bit when they’re with friends who have them, so I’m not a complete technophobe.

I guess I’ll catch up soon enough, and my kids are certainly a bit more savvy about new tech than me, but they aren’t obsessed by high tech, and e.g., can both read ‘proper’ maps as well as knowing how to programme the satnav (yes, I finally succumbed). I hope to keep my happy balance going as long as possible and sites like yours that try and draw out the best of what there is are a fantastic resource, so thank you.

Reply

iGameMom October 30, 2012 at 11:23 am

I love discussions like this. I agree kids need a balanced development. If they have never thrown something and observed how things fall, they won’t be able to enjoy Angry Bird. They need real-world 3D experience to appreciate everything they have on the screens :-) Part of my concerns – they may lose some opportunities at some skill development. I saw some writing apps that claim teaching kids handwriting on iPAD, with fingers sliding on iPAD – how could that be the same as holding a pencil writing on paper? Kids are not practicing the fine muscles. Technology should not aimed to make kids life easy by avoiding challenges, we want to find ways to help them overcome more challenges. During my search of apps, I try to find apps that help open up more learning opportunities or tackle learning challenges from different angles. Brush of Truth is a book app that let readers choose their own ending, a nice feature that can be done better with app, a feature that help foster imagination; Tiny Tower is not designed for kids, but I see learning opportunities there; similar to Stargazing app, Peterson Bird Guide Apps bring all the bird information at your finger tip while walking in the park… I am glad to see there are a lot people out there are working towards the same goal!

Reply

Nick October 9, 2012 at 12:23 am

I’m late to this post but just wanted to say thanks. These apps are fantastic! Very helpful.

Reply

iGameMom October 11, 2012 at 9:10 am

You are welcome. You are never too late though. Glad you find them now.

Reply

Luke Englund September 20, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Wonderful

Reply

Clelia Tesch May 9, 2012 at 2:45 am

You made various good points there. I did a search on the subject and found the majority of persons will have the same opinion with your blog.

Reply

iGameMom May 9, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Thanks! I spend quite some time on it. :-)

Reply

Missah MY April 17, 2012 at 11:49 pm

Fellow skygazer,
thank you :)

Reply

iGameMom April 18, 2012 at 12:33 am

You are welcome. Thank you for visiting.

Reply

Amomand4kids April 17, 2012 at 1:52 pm

My kids and I love skyview. They will lay in the backyard and guess at the constelations then check their memory on the app. The outlines of the constelations help my little guy get the gist of the stars. Stars are so much fun :)

Reply

iGameMom April 18, 2012 at 12:29 am

yes, the outlines help a lot. It is amazing what new technology can do, and how it helps learning.

Reply

raven2298 April 15, 2012 at 12:30 am

Thank you… very cool apps!

Reply

iGameMom April 15, 2012 at 2:13 am

You are welcome! Try it out.

Reply

Nicole April 14, 2012 at 11:28 pm

I had bought red shift and could never really figure it. This sounds great and more suitable for kids. My boys will love it!!
Thanks for the work that you do!

Reply

iGameMom April 15, 2012 at 2:12 am

You are wecome. Let me know how you and your boys like it.

Reply

Author MelindaTripp April 14, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Wow these apps sound wonderful!

Reply

iGameMom April 15, 2012 at 2:12 am

They are amazing! Try it out.

Reply

hiking mama April 14, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Thank you, I am going to try out the Sky View app soon!

Reply

iGameMom April 15, 2012 at 2:11 am

Great. Let me know how you like it.

Reply

Chris Hall April 14, 2012 at 11:25 am

“Google Sky Map” is also another great app to try for the Android and iPhone. For the computer I would recommend “Stellarium.” It provides a lot of great detail of the planets, starts and constellations. You can also follow satellites and the international space station.

Reply

iGameMom April 15, 2012 at 2:11 am

Thank you for the recommendation Chris. I have them in my note, will take a look for sure.

Reply

allthingsboys April 14, 2012 at 8:23 am

Thanks for the great suggestions! I’ve looked at these before (constellation apps) but was too overwhelmed to figure it out. Thanks for narrowing it down!

Reply

iGameMom April 15, 2012 at 2:06 am

It is overwhelming while looking at all the apps available. Glad this can help.

Reply

caspette April 14, 2012 at 6:15 am

Oh thanks I have been looking for a good one for ages. Star Walk seems to getting rave reviews from lots of people.

Reply

iGameMom April 15, 2012 at 2:02 am

It is good start. It is also available for iPAD, at $4.99, if you prefer bigger screen.

Reply

chrisharrow April 14, 2012 at 6:05 am

Star Walk is an absolutely phenomenal app. I haven’t played with SkyView.
Something else I adore about Star Walk is that the app shows you the stars around you, even during daytime when the sun makes it impossible to actually see them. My students, my children, and I have also had fun aiming the iPad at the floor to see what stars people on the other side of the earth are looking at and just below the horizon to locate stars, satellites, etc just before they rise. It’s an amazing app.

Reply

iGameMom April 15, 2012 at 2:01 am

I, too, found myself pointing at my feet and see what the sky looks like on the other side of the globe :-)

Reply

heavenswithlamps April 14, 2012 at 1:58 am

Been a follower for a time. Would like to Reblog. Permission?

Reply

iGameMom April 23, 2012 at 11:40 pm

Sorry for the late reply. Some how, your comment was in the spam folder. Glad I went checked …
Sure, feel free to reblog, as long as you let me know, and I am given the credit. :-)
You have an interesting site. Good job!

Reply

{ 13 trackbacks }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: