Depending on where you live, the night sky might not be clear to view. Tap or click here to see what NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope photographed on your birthday. Even if you have a clear view of the stars and planets, it’s hard to know what is what without an astronomy background.
Well, go figure, there’s an app for that! Not only is there an app, but there’s also a website. Stellarium Web brings the wonders of the universe conveniently to your computer and smartphone.
Skip the trip to the local planetarium and view the stars and planets from home. Here’s how to see which constellations and planets are out tonight.
What does Stellarium Web offer?
Stellarium Web isn’t a limited viewing platform. Universities use it all over the world for its accuracy. Using your location, Stellarium will show you what constellations and planets are currently in the sky based on your region.
If you open it at night, you’ll see a current view of what is in the sky near you. If you open it in the daytime, it will give you a reading of the nighttime view of the present-day you are in.
What can I use Stellarium for?
Educators use Stellarium, but it has many personal uses. If you are curious where a specific constellation or planet is, as the big dipper, for example, you can use the convenient search feature at the top of the screen.
If you are out in nature, free of the distractions of the city and want to get a better view of what’s in front of you, Stellarium will show what constellations are in your night’s sky.
Outside of personal use, the app and website can be used to beef up your astronomy knowledge. Whether it’s for a class or a hobby, Stellarium has the most up-to-date information on everything the sky has to offer.
Other conveniant features
Since planets and constellations move through the sky throughout the night, certain things are only viewable at specific times.
If you are curious about what you can see later in the evening, use Stellarium’s fast-forward feature. Simply click on the time controls and move the pointer ahead or backward based on what time you want to view.
If you want to focus on one constellation or planet, search for it. Once you do, the platform will lock it into place so you can view it.
You can keep track of your favorite sights through an account with NocturaSky. Simply create an account under Observe to keep track of your observations and simulate other features.
Pricing and apps
You can use the web-based version for free by heading here. But Stellarium also offers apps in both the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store.
The Android-based app offers you the same features as the web-based platform, with a fun twist. Point your phone towards the sky to see what is viewable in that frame. You can download the free version from Google Play here.
The iOS app is similar to the web and Android-based platforms, with one exception. There isn’t a free option. You’ll need to pay $13.99 to download the app, which you can do by heading here.