Jupiter is in opposition tonight, which means it’s directly opposite the Sun, reflecting all that good sunlight right back to Earth. In fact, Jupiter is brighter than anything else in the sky tonight, except for the International Space Station and the moon. Still, finding a bright speck in a sky of bright specks can be tricky — but these apps are here to help.
SkyView is a slick, powerful, free app that superimposes nifty animations of celestial bodies over their position in the real night sky. Fast, easy to use, and it’s pretty dang cool to see a floating graphic of the ISS when you find it in the air. However, the giant floating Jupiter did make it a bit difficult to find the actual Jupiter (well, that and New York’s massive light pollution), but there are plenty of options to turn features like planet animations on and off in the app. SkyView also has a paid version, so if you want more features and control, you can shell out $1.99.
For $2.99, Sky Guide has it all. Interactive map like other stargazing apps, a groovy space-themed soundtrack, planet and space object bios and facts. The constellation artwork is particularly beautiful.
Star Walk is only $0.99, so if you’ve got a spare buck and want a full stargazing app, give that one a whirl. All told, about $10 in the app store will get you more stargazing apps than you know what to do with, so get out there and check out the sky.
You can join in the fun with NASA as well.
The phone apps won’t get you a telescope-view of the planet, unfortunately, but a lot of viewers on the Twitter thread have you covered.
Photos via Jack Crosbie, NASA