Space is a very mysterious place, and if you have curiosity about celestial objects, then you must have heard about the word Astrophotography.
If you haven’t heard about it, then this is the perfect place for you to start and gather a piece of basic knowledge about the best Astrophotography apps and learn more about it.
Astrophotography is also known as Astronomical Imaging, capturing images of celestial objects, astronomical phenomena, and the night sky. Mostly these pictures and photographs are not used for any type of scientific research or data.
The main goal is to take aesthetically beautiful pictures that are pleasing to the eyes. It includes taking pictures of objects that aren’t visible to the human eye, like nebulae, galaxies, and stars.
Astrophotographers use a variety of unique devices and types of equipment in order to capture these pictures.
These types of astronomical images are captured in a unique way by using extended exposure times.
As we know, celestial objects are very dull, so we have to keep the camera shutter open for an extended period of time to take aesthetically pleasing pictures. This helps the camera to absorb more light and exposure for more explicit pictures.
What Are Astrophotography Apps?🧐
Two very essential things are required for astrophotography, a reliable camera and good processing software to back that up.
As you may have already noticed, you can take professional astrophotos only with the assistance of additional high-grade equipment, as it is much more complicated than taking regular everyday photos.
To capture aesthetically pleasing photos related to astrophotography, you need to develop and acquire a degree of skill as an astronomer. Astrophotography is very challenging, and it is not just like opening your camera and pressing a click to capture photos.
However, there are some very good apps for night sky photography that can enhance and help you create a taste and a certain level of skill to be a professional astrophotographer later.
It is also very important to know that the weather plays a very vital role while capturing these pictures and the information about the current whereabouts of the stars or the celestial objects. Some of the apps mentioned below are free, while some of them aren’t.
Mobile apps are evolving day by day, and there is a significant amount of increase that we have witnessed in the number of astronomy apps.
So let’s take a look at the best astrophotography apps present on the Internet that you can download today and begin your journey.
This list mentions some of the best-performing apps with good reviews and ratings based on the actual user experience.
Best Astrophotography Apps – Our Pick👌👌
1. Stellarium – Star Map
Stellarium is the first name that pops up in our minds when we think about the best Astrophotography apps that help us see celestial objects and stargaze.
It is an open-source software planetarium that is available on every central platform like Mobile, Linux, Windows, and macOS. It creates an interactive display of realistic sky in 3D and shows us exactly what we see when we look at the sky and stars.
This app works in a different way by labeling the objects we see in the night sky at any point in past history. It helps you explore the beautiful and mysterious night sky.
You can identify constellations, stars, comets, planets, satellites, and numerous other objects in real-time. All you have to do is point your device at the sky, and Stellarium will do the rest of the work.
One thing to keep in mind is that Stellarium does not have AR ( Augmented Reality), but it does possess the ability to find deep space objects. You can even tap on a star or a constellation to gather more information about it.
Stellarium even lets you zoom so you can have a 360-degree view of the sky. You can even pair it with your telescope as it is available for Android too.
It has a very minimalistic user interface that makes this app very easy to use for every age group, including adults and children.
Developed with the association of telescope experts at Celestron and renowned app developers SkySafari, Skyportal is one of the best planetarium app and telescope control solutions.
If you ever wish to see the sky and stars in a different way than usual, you have to dig deeper into astronomy.
Skyportal can change your whole perspective of how you look at the sky. It will help you explore the celestial objects in-depth with a plethora of detail about them.
Exploring the sky is the main highlight of this product. It includes the solar system, stars, galaxies, asteroids, comets, satellites, and even our very own space station.
While exploring, you can even listen to the audio descriptions related to the objects or bodies that you’re studying. You can also plan your sessions and photos as this app also observes your time zone and your current location to churn out the best possible results.
If you have a Celestron Telescope which is compatible with the device using Skyportal, then you can control the telescope with the SkyPortal WiFi module.
It is available on iOS as well as on Android devices. However, it will only work with the SkyPortal WiFi module that is sold separately for the telescope control.
To be able to control your telescope with your smartphone is a liability and absolutely astonishing if you love exploring the sky.
SkyPortal also shows you a custom list of the top celestial objects based on your current geographical location and time zone.
The most remarkable feature that SkyPortal has is that you can simulate the night sky for up to 100 years back or ahead of the future and even plan your observing session.
You can view a bunch of astronomical photographs taken by NASA. If you’re a good listener and like the podcasts, you can also listen to the audio narration of the space’s history, mythology, and science.
3. Astrospheric-- Astronomy Weather Forecasting
As you must know, weather plays a very vital role in astrophotography. Good weather is very important for aesthetic images. In case the weather is not good, or the sky is cloudy, then achieving desired results is next to impossible.
This is why a weather forecast is necessary for astrophotography to specify the weather and the future weather conditions of the venue you’re currently at.
Astrospehric is one of the most top-rated weather forecast apps explicitly for astrophotographers, astronomers, or explorers. It contains all the vital information about the sky and cloud cover.
Even if you’re planning for a cloudless sky or sunset eves, Astrospehric collects these astronomical data from very reliable sources like the Canadian Meteorological Center, NOAA, and other trusted agencies.
It produces accurate and to-the-point weather forecasts of the next 48 hours of any geographical location in the continental United States or Canada.
It tells you about overlaying clouds, transparency, and light pollution data on a graphic map which makes it very simple and easy to understand the weather of the upcoming two days.
It is updated after every 6 hours and provides an extended 8-day cloud forecast. It also provides the stats about ground data such as wind, temperature, humidity, including the rise and set time of both sun and moon.
If you’re specifically curious about the moon, then the Astrospheric app can give precise altitude and illumination information to help you make suitable adjustments and decisions.
It will also provide you with a list of upcoming moon phases so you can prepare for those events. The information provided by this app is easy to understand and comes in color-coded table form. It is absolutely free to use and available for Android.
4. SkySafari 6 Pro
Having SkuSafari 6 Pro installed on your smartphone is like holding a pocket universe in your palms. It was created by the Simulation Curriculum Corp. You can use this app to explore the universe just the way we discussed on the above apps.
Just hold your phone in an upright position, and SkySafari will let you know precisely what you’re looking at, at the exact moment. It was designed to be a perfect and complete mobile planetarium.
SkySafari 6 Pro claims that it will revolutionize the astronomical experience of its users. It includes 100 million stars, 3+ million galaxies, and over 770,000+ solar objects, which also consists of every comet and asteroid ever discovered by humankind.
It lets you simulate the sky from anywhere on the Earth by giving you insight and visuals of any phenomena that happened or will happen in 1000 years past or the future.
It also lets you identify stars, planets, and constellations with the help of a sky chart. The sky chart follows your motion for better accuracy while viewing and exploring the night sky.
SkySafari also offers a bunch of educational content for everyone who is curious, and it includes hundreds of images from NASA space missions, the Hubble telescope, and the famous astrophotographers.
Telescope control is also available with the help of SkyFi or SkyWire. The SkySafari plus and pro apps offer this feature for your computer-controlled telescope from anywhere in the sky. It is available for both the Android and iOS platforms. However, it is a paid service.
There are three versions of this app. SkySafari 6 AR is the least expensive one, but it offers a very low database, so exploring might not be as much fun as you would’ve expected.
But the other two options, the SkySafari 6 Plus and SkySafari 6 Pro are a little expensive but offer a great immersive experience to their users. It also has an AR mode which is mind-blowing.
If you want to click legendary images, then Photopills might be the perfect choice for you. It doesn’t matter what type of photography you love and want to do.
Photopills will help you click the pictures just like you desire. It lets you unlock your full potential by giving you the right tools. It is basically a photography planning app.
It assists you with planning your photos way ahead of time so you can always be prepared at the right place at the right time to click the best images possible according to the situation.
Suppose your passion is capturing photos no matter what the nature or essence of your pictures is. In that case, Photopills will let you capture Landscapes, Moon, Sunrise, Sunset, Stars, Milky Way, Eclipses, Architectures, and whatever you can think of. The possibilities are limitless.
You can plan any Milky Way shot that you’ve imagined on a map. It also has Augmented Reality to help you visualize the Sun, Moon, and Milky Way position and its path.
If you’re curious about how this app works, then it’s pretty simple. Sometimes, it must’ve happened with you when you walk by a very beautiful place and wish there was a Moon or Sun here.
If it were, it would’ve resulted in a great photo. With the help of Photopills, you can calculate the particular or specific time when the magic moment that you wished for will happen.
You just think or imagine where you want the Sun, Moon, or Milky Way to be, and you can easily calculate the exact date and time of when it will happen with the help of Photopills.
You can just be there prepared even before the phenomenon occurs, and when it does, you can capture the moments of your dream.
Not only does Photopills let you shoot those legendary pictures, but it also awards you for the sheer determination and hard work you’ve put into clicking that picture.
You can submit your creative photos directly from the and win a cash prize of $6600 and become a legend. , It also has a feature of 3D augmented reality to help you plan the paths of the Sun, Moon, or the Milky Way when you want to scout a potential photo or film time-lapse location.
Overall, this app is unique and has so much potential if you’re going to be an astrophotographer.
6. Star Walk 2: The Night Sky Map
If you love stargazing at night, then this surely is one of the Best Astrophotography Apps built for you.
Star Walk is an astronomy guide that helps you explore and identify stars, constellations, planets, satellites, asteroids, and the other celestial bodies that you can think of in real-time that are in the sky above you.
You just have to point your device in the direction of those objects in the sky. Even if you’re a space amateur or an OG stargazer, this app can help you by educating you about astronomy. This app can even be used by teachers to teach students about space.
The stars and planets finder shows you the real-time map of the sky on your device and changes the data as you move your device in a different direction.
There’s also a clock-like icon at the top of the right corner that allows you to set any date of past or future, and it will show you the night sky map of stars and planets of that specific date and time.
It also has a feature called AR stargazing. You can view constellations and stars, planets in augmented reality. It uses your device’s camera to show the charted objects that appear superimposed over live sky objects.
To assist you with that, they also have a star chart app that will give you a deeper insight into the understanding of constellations.
You can enjoy the 3D models of constellations, read and know about their stories and other fascinating astronomy facts.
It also keeps you updated with the current news about the space. The ‘What’s New’ section will tell you about the astronomical events that have happened, or that will happen, keeping you updated with the latest news.
However, your device must have a gyroscope sensor and compass if you wish to use the Star Spotter feature.
7. The Photographer’s Ephemeris
This app is very similar to the Photopills app we’ve discussed earlier in our article. The only difference is that The Photographer’s Ephemeris is an industry-standard for astrophotography planning.
Just like the other planning apps, this predicts the positions of the Sun, Moon, and Milky Way. However, the main area where this app specializes is the geodetic tool.
Photo Ephemeris lets you plan outdoor scenarios for photography in natural light. You can select a position and a topographical situation to capture.
It can help you by giving you information about what landscape features will be captured by a given position.
It will help to decide which geographical location and parameters at what dates and times will feature the Sun or the Moon at that particular place. With the help of this app, you can plan and capture your shots with perfect precision.
Professional outdoors photography depends a lot on the perfect weather conditions like sunlight, moonlight. Whatever you’re shooting, whether it is a landscape, architecture, wildlife, etc. This app will tell every detail about the lighting conditions.
You can even plan to capture photos in the future, just set a date that you’re planning to take pictures. This app will tell you about the light conditions past, present, and future.
This app is paid, but you can get a 30-day free trial. TPE is also available on the Android platform.
Nightcap is an ultimate camera specially designed for low-light photography. It has an AI assistant for the better shooting of photos, videos, and time-lapse. This app was created by Realtime Dreams Limited and is solely available on iPhones.
NightCap Camera is a very powerful app that is brilliant for low-light photography and night shots. You can also create a 4K time-lapse video with the help of this app.
For low light imaging, long exposure shots are preferred as they produce beautiful images in low light, and this app also has a feature called Astronomy mode that captures the stars, Aurora(Northern Lights), and much more.
Apart from all these features, NightCap also offers dedicated features like Star Trails, ISS, shooting stars type of photography. As for compatibility, NightCap is available for all iOS devices like iPhones, iPads, and Apple watches.
9. The Moon- Phases Calendar
To give you a basic idea about the phases of the Moon, there are four primary moon phases: New Moon, First Quarter, Full Moon, and Last Quarter.
This app does exactly what its name suggests about it. This contains the universal lunar calendar for any location from 0001AD to 2100 years.
Our lunar calendar is one of the most ancient calendars in existence, as you must know that a lunar month can be 29 to 30 days long. With the help of this app, you can set a specific reminder for any particular moon event to choose your day/time.
This app contains all the data, including the moonrise time, moonset time, illumination level, and the distance to the moon. It even provides a monthly calendar of how the moon will change its shape according to time.
You can also track all the cycles of the Moon, including all its phases, through the live moon wallpapers that are available on this app. You can also view the current lunar phase with the help of 3D simulation made by NASA data.
It gives you reminders of every major moon event that will occur during the month. It is available for both Android and iOS platforms.
While exploring 11 Best Astrophotography Apps for both experienced and novice astronomy lovers, I found an awesome video on “10 Impossible Things That Happen Every Day on Other Planets” which is worth watching.😍😎
10. Nightshift: Astronomy and Stargazing
If you have a passion and love for astronomy and stargazing, then Nightshift is a one-time stop for you. Nightshift helps you find the perfect time and nights for stargazing.
Even if you’re a professional or a genuine star lover, you can find something very interesting for you in this app.
If you’re in love and looking for a date under the stars or just want to click some pictures with your telescope, you can find the best possible time to capture those pictures with the help of the Nightshift app.
Nightshift even notifies you of the best conditions in case you’re worried about poor visibility when you’re exploring the night sky. It also keeps you updated about the current celestial events that are happening in the night’s sky.
It even gives you forecasts about clouds and darkness for any location on Earth so you can earn a reasonable opportunity to stargaze.
While viewing with the help of sky view, you can zoom in to discover and explore the tiniest or faintest of objects and activate Gerald circles to locate and mark your favorite places as targets at your telescope.
It also has an event calendar that tells you exactly when the next opposition of Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune will happen so that you can plan your observing sessions ahead of time, which will lead to a better exploring experience.
Apart from all those features, Nightshift also has Moon phases and lunar eclipses calendar so that you don’t miss out on any significant event that can occur.
It has very in-depth information about all the celestial bodies, which includes their type classification, brightness, angular size, distance, and cross-reference with other astronomy catalogs. It can also be used as an educational resource for amateurs.
In this article, we’ve discussed the best astrophotography apps that can help with your journey on space exploration. We hope that you found what you were looking for.
Some of the apps mentioned here are very different from each other and serve different purposes. You can choose an app that fulfills your needs and purpose.
The best astrophotography app is one that works on your operating system flawlessly. If you want to take pictures of stars or any of the celestial bodies, you must have access to a telescope and perfect weather conditions. Many of the apps here give details and predict the right weather for astrophotography.
Even if you’re not successful the first time while taking pictures, don’t worry, there will be plenty of opportunities. Until then, you can just look up into the sky and admire the beauty of the sky through the help of astronomical apps on the mobile planetarium.
These apps are great for amateurs too, as it provides a plethora of detailed information about major celestial bodies and objects. The theory is also essential to know what you’re looking at. The selection of apps totally depends on you.
All of the apps mentioned above aren’t free, some of them are paid, but they do their job as they promised.
Astrophotography is a field that needs hard work, dedication, patience, and constant determination if you want to succeed in this field.
Most of the time, you have to go out of town to capture images that are worth the effort. However, suppose you’re not a professional and just looking at the sky due to sheer curiosity.
In that case, most of the apps mentioned above can prove to be very useful to you as they have all the information that you need to calm your curiosity.
I hope you achieve all the things that you deserve—best of luck with your future adventures. Keep hustling and exploring. Space is beautiful, and so are you.