Astronomy tools that are out of this world!

If you’re anything like me and intrigued by what lies beyond our planet then you’re going to love these tools that will stimulate your interest further and allow you to navigate the sky! These are some of the most useful and cool astronomy aids I’ve found online. I’d love to hear from you if you have other sites of tools you’d recommend. Enjoy!


Scale of the Universe 2
In our busy, rush from place-to-place world where much we encounter has been designed by us to be easy to manage for us humans, it can be a bit of a shock to the system to discover that most of what is out there is far away from being on the same scale as us. To get the context needed in just how small things get to how large they get in the Universe one of the best things to explore is the Scale of the Universe 2.

The Scale of the Universe 2 website

The Scale of the Universe 2 website

You could spend hours zooming in and out and clicking on the items that are carefully positioned by their size. Each item has a bit of background you can read up on (some quite humorous) if you are unsure of what on earth it is! I love this and there are oftentimes where you think “surely, nothing can be bigger…”, or “nothing can be smaller…” but there is. Class!

The Scale of the Universe website - how big is a human?

The Scale of the Universe website - how big is a human?


Google Sky

Google Sky website

Google Sky website

Google Sky, Moon and Mars is a bit like Google Maps for astronomers. There’s an incredible amount of content to extend what you see from images, to videos and podcasts.


Google Sky Map for Android

Also from Google is Google Sky Map for Android. Although basic, its free to download and I find easier to use than its big brother. Point your android device in the direction you’re looking and it will show you onscreen what you’re looking at.



Stellarium is another free program available to download and it’s a beauty! Very user friendly and well supported, there are many extensions to it too. It’s often used by planetariums around the world to show the night sky which gives you an idea of how powerful a tool it can be.



If you’re willing to part with a couple of pounds Starwalk is a top app available for your iPhone or iPad. With a plethora of features you could think of it as a highly jazzed up version of Google Sky for Android, but even more user-friendly and customisable. If you’ve got this in your hand, you’ll never get lost navigating the night sky. It’s a powerful tool that will even show you man-made things that are out there orbiting the Earth.



If you’d like a bit of a solar system adventure online check out Scope. It let’s you watch and play with a very slick model of the solar system planets and constellations moving over the night sky.

Sun Aeon

Just getting off the ground from the same team who provide Scope is SunAeon – it’ll be worth keeping an eye on this to see how their vision of rendering all the planets of the solar system in 3D as realistically as possible develops.


Photopic Sky Survey

Photopic Sky Survey website

Photopic Sky Survey website

Bask in the beauty of the stars across the night sky as though you’re outside in a crystal clear sky far from any source of light pollution. Photopic Sky Survey takes you there with an interactive 360° view, which is a staggering 5,000 megapixels, allowing you to zoom in an out of our place in space – the Milky Way. Absolutely stunning to look at! Awesome!

Orrery 2006
An online orrery that allows you to view our solar system in either a Copernican view or Tychonian view. Orrery 2006 is perhaps not as practical as some of the other resources in this blogpost but still a very beautifully designed thing that I’m sure will appeal.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the post.

About Derek Shirlaw

I'm passionate about science communication, social media, and my home country, Scotland. In particular, I have a real interest in astronomy, digital marketing, and the great outdoors.
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  1. Pingback: Derek Shirlaw » Skywatching in July 2012

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