Few experiences inspire a greater sense of child-like curiosity than looking up at the night sky and gazing at twinkling constellations of planets and stars. Little wonder, then, that there are so many songs and lullabies devoted to celebrating the distant lights that shine above us. Flip through our heavenly album to discover a starry array of edutaining and easy-to-navigate apps that’ll help junior Galileos deepen their love and appreciation of the cosmos.

GoSkyWatch Planetarium—iPad Edition

Casual star watchers will delight in this powerful but uncomplicated iPad-only app that lets users easily and quickly identify and locate stars, planets, constellations, and more by simply pointing their devices toward the sky on a clear night. Using an iPad’s built-in compass and accelerometer, the app reveals the names and locations of visible celestial bodies with a planetarium-style overlay that features details such as coordinates and shapes of mythology-based characters for selected star groupings. The app controls are spare (with the primary function being the telescope at the center of the screen), but a handy online user’s guide nicely explains how to get the most out of this excellent portable planetarium.

For ages 5 & up.

Available on iTunes, free.

What’s your favorite stargazing app? Tell us in the comments below!

—Kipp Jarecke-Cheng

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