5 Tools to Watch the Night Sky and Track Events in Astronomy

Mihir Patkar 28-05-2016

Remember how you felt when you first looked at the night sky through a telescope? All those stars, those distant planets — celestial bodies that form poetry in the blackness of deep space. A little help from technology can let you rediscover that child-like joy.


Now, there are already programs like Stellarium to learn about the night sky from your computer 5 Tools to Watch the Night Sky and Track Events in Astronomy Today, you don't have to use a telescope to enjoy the wonders of space. These sites and apps are for real-life star-gazers who need to know what to look at up above. Read More . But we’re going to be looking at sites and apps that accompany real-life star-gazers who need to know what to look at up above, and when to head out of town to capture breath-taking vistas.

Sky at a Glance (Web): Weekly Guide to Sights in the Sky

Since 1941, Sky & Telescope has been one of the leading astronomy publications in the world. These guys know what they’re talking about, so if you want to know what’s happening in the sky this week, check out Sky at a Glance column published every Friday and add it to your Feedly Unofficial Guide To Feedly: Better Than Google Reader Do you hunger for the best desktop and mobile RSS reader ever made? For both the hungry and the hopeful, Feedly satisfies. Read More or other RSS news reader.


Sky at a Glance tells you everything that’s going to happen in the sky that is worth checking out next week. It’s not just what’s happening, but information about why it’s significant. Plus, you get a full roundup of what the planets in our solar system are up to.

If a weekly guide is too much for you, maybe you should check out’s guide to the best celestial events of 2016. There’s plenty of stuff waiting to happen before the end of the year!


Heavens Above (Web, Android): Location-Based Guide for the Sky

Heavens Above is the site everyone needs to visit at least once to know just how much amazing stuff there is in the night sky above them. Key in your location and Heavens Above will tell you anything you want to know. From the various satellites above you today to what time the International Space Station might pass you.


The best is the interactive sky chart, which shows you the astronomical view above you right now, and you can even change the time to whatever you want. It’s interactive, so click on any stars, constellations, or planets to get more information about it.

Apart from all this, Heavens Above also brings outer space to your Android phone Bring Outer Space to Your Android Phone With These Apps Space: the final frontier. For centuries humans have gazed into the stars far beyond our Solar System and our galaxy, the Milky Way. In recent decades we have sent many missions into the unknown. Manned... Read More . Get the free Android app to know precisely when satellites will pass above, or my favorite, when Iridium satellites will reflect the sun to you to create bright flares!

Download: Heavens Above for Android (Free)

Numerous (Android, iOS): Countdown to Celestial Events [No Longer Available]

Some events deserve all the hype they get. The countdown to the big event and the mounting expectations are as important to the “feel” as the event itself. Numerous is a beautiful countdown app to track cool upcoming events 5 Awesome Event Calendars to Always Know What's Coming Up Birthdays, soccer games, office parties — they all have a place on your calendar. But how do you keep track of them? Event-tracking calendars will keep you updated about what's happening around you. Read More . And it has a dedicated plugin for celestial events!

The Celestial Events calendar tracks phases of the moon, rocket launches, supermoons, eclipses, meteor showers, habitable planets, and SpaceX, Elon Musk’s initiative for mind-boggling rocket launches and spacecrafts Watch This Video: SpaceX Lands Rocket on Drone Ship…Kind Of A rocket moment in our quest for cheaper space flight. SpaceX continues its brave march to change the way we can access space. Catch the video. Read More . Tap any event and you’ll get to enter a discussion forum, where you might even get some tips and advice on how to best follow it.

Download: Numerous for Android (Free) |iOS (Free)

SkyMaps (Web): Detailed Printable Map to the Night Sky

When you’re actually heading out to watch the night sky, it helps to have a printable calendar full of details 10+ Sites to Find the Perfect Free Printable Calendar Template All Year Long You can never have enough reminders that your most valuable personal resource is limited. Our selection of printable weekly, monthly, and yearly calendars will help you manage your time wisely. Read More . SkyMaps has every single thing that you’ll need, whether you’re new to astronomy or an avid star-gazer.


The Evening Sky Map is free to download and available for three different locations on the planet: Northern Hemisphere, Equatorial, or Southern Hemisphere. With it, you will learn how to identify planets, stars, and major constellations, locate and follow comets, and even spot galaxies and nebulae.

There’s so much more on SkyMaps, like star atlases for beginners and detailed atlases for others, Plus, the monthly SkyMaps calendar has day-by-day details of all the wonderful events happening in any month.

NASA SkyCal (Web): Make a Custom Sky Events Calendar

The world’s most prestigious space organization has a neat, free tool to make custom calendars about sky events. It’s pretty simple to use too. First, select the time zone you’re in. Then select the sky events to include in the calendar. Your options are lunar phases, eclipses, equinoxes or solstices, moon apogee or perigee, moon-planet conjunctions, planet events, and meteor showers.


Finally, just add the year or the month you want to generate the calendar for, and you’ll get a month-by-month calendar for every event you selected. Surprisingly, the NASA SkyCal also lets you map these events on non-Gregorian calendars like the Indian Civil Calendar or the Persian Calendar. For any more details, read the explanatory notes for SkyCal.

Feed Your Inner Space Geek!

There is no way, just no way, that anyone can resist the humbling, perception-altering effect of gazing at the night sky with its perfect view of infinity. If you’ve never seen it, you should. We have tools for space-obsessed users 8 Unmissable Tools For Space-Obsessed Chrome Users Thanks to cutting edge Web technologies, exploration of space is now more down to Earth. Make a beginning of your space journey with just the Chrome browser. Here are a few space tools. Read More , sites to learn about the universe Get To Know The Universe With These Amazing Astronomy Websites Very few of us are likely to ever make it into outer space, unless the various space tourism ventures become mainstream successes. Even then the price of being flown into space will be so high... Read More , and so much more at our fingertips!

Have you tried looking at the night sky through a telescope? What did you see, and how did you feel? Share your experience of the great beyond in the comments below.

Related topics: Astronomy, Cool Web Apps, Education Technology, Space.

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  1. Philip Bates
    May 31, 2016 at 7:59 pm

    These are brilliant, Mihir - really interesting sites. Heavens Above, however, needs to be an iOS app - that would be SO useful, just to be able to identify all the stars and constellations you're looking at... Amazing.

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  3. Anonymous
    May 29, 2016 at 1:58 pm


  4. Anonymous
    May 28, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    Great sites, Mihir. They, along with various Hubble sites, show us how wondrous the universe is. However, while the photos on astronomical sites are stunning and awe-inspiring, there is minor problem with all of them, they were taken with large, professional telescopes at long exposures, setting up the casual star watcher for disappointment or a let down. Through my 12 inch reflector, the same objects look puny and washed out even at the highest magnification. For example, the Andromeda Galaxy instead of being a huge pin wheel of stars is a blurry smudge. Very underwhelming. Even observing with the 20 and 30 inch telescopes of my friends in the astronomy club the view does not come anywhere near.