Your primary goal is to capture exceptional images of the vast starry sky and divine celestial objects; the rest is up to your needs. Our guide can help you find a good budget telescope, but you also need a good star tracker to go with it.
Almost all sky trackers have a built-in illuminated polar finder on the side, so just stand behind it and adjust the declination base (wedge) and aim at the North Star (Polaris) in the northern hemisphere.
Best Star Tracker you need to download immediately
Among the most common trackers, if you want to work with long telephoto lenses and heavy equipment, you should turn to the Skywatcher Star Adventurer Pro or the iOptron SkyGuide Pro. The Skywatcher Star Adventurer PRO is the perfect tracker, a mount that will please beginners and astrophotography enthusiasts alike. So, if you plan to travel with this mount you’ll need to carry a reliable battery or find a power outlet and extension cord nearby.
The best thing about this mount is the declination stand and the whole counterweight system which I really like. It is sufficient for a field trip to remote areas and at the same time it is easy to change mid-session.
In a world where motorized trackers operate on the same basic principle, the Fornax 10 Lightrack II is the outsider. With your smartphone already armed with the free Star Adventurer mini Console app on Android or iPhone it’s possible to perform polar alignment with the included polar scope using a polar clock function (as well as change speed for time lapse modes).
There is no best star tracker for DSLR; your devotion and technique will give you better results than more advanced settings. There is no best star tracker for DSLR; your devotion and technique will give you better results than more advanced settings.
Offering nearly twice the charge of its “little brother” the Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer Mini, this Pro version also increases battery life by using four AA batteries that together last 72 hours. There is no better DSLR star tracker; your devotion and technique will give you better results than more advanced setups.
The premium hardware and finishes on this handheld star tracker have caught my eye, and I love the mounting bar and counterweight kit. However, there are 2 colossal differences between the iOptron and Sky-Watcher camera trackers and the LighTrack II.
There is no such thing as the best DSLR star tracker; your devotion and technique will get you better results than more advanced mounts. The premium hardware and finishes on this handheld star tracker caught my eye, and I love the mounting bar and counterweight kit.
It’s also quite heavy and for those reasons alone, it’s a bit of a pain to carry around. There is no better star tracker for DSLRs; your devotion and technique will give you better results than more advanced mounts.
This is a very compact and portable motorized mount that can be used for wide-field star photography, lunar photography and time-lapse. There is no better DSLR star tracker; your devotion and technique will give you better results than the more advanced mounts.
This was one of the first portable star trackers and still works well for Milky Way landscape photography. The iOptron SkyGuider PRO is a good alternative to the Star Adventurer Pro, with similar specifications and features. There are many different types of star trackers available on the market, all excelling in one or more areas. Finally, the Fornax needs a 12V DC power supply, such as a bulky and less portable 12V Power Tank.
It also brings a lot of knowledge about action cameras, 360 cameras, AI cameras, camera backpacks, spotting scopes, gimbals, tripods and all sorts of other photographic equipment. The first is that this mount requires an external 12V power supply. However, you should be cautious when purchasing your favorite star tracker if you plan to use it with larger and heavier lenses. The LighTrack II has no internal battery.
It uses two AA batteries, so it’s easy to recharge on the go. You can buy expensive, modern equipment in the world, but it’s useless if it doesn’t meet your requirements. I recommend the Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer 2i (Pro Pack) for beginner astrophotographers looking for the best overall experience. The best star tracker for DSLR (astrophotography) is the one that suits your needs and style.
The best star tracker for DSLR (astrophotography) is the one that suits your needs and style. Check the price of the iOptron SkyTracker Pro camera mount here It also has a weight limit of 11 pounds, so you can add quite a bit of camera gear here and still get great results.
If you’re thinking of using a DSLR without a star tracker, you won’t be able to open the shutter for more than a few seconds. Of all the star trackers available on the market, for us, the best all-rounder mount with the best value for money is the SkyWatcher Star Adventurer PRO.
But since for the same money it offers no wifi (which unlocks advanced features on the Star Adventurer Mini, like dithering and 3 different time-lapse modes) and fewer accessories (no declination support), the Star Adventurer Mini is a better bargain.
It calculates exposures of about 60 seconds with a 100mm lens, although it has a counterweight that raises the load limit to 3kg. Capable of tracking the stars, Sun and Moon, the Pro also offers several moving time-lapse modes and has a built-in intervalometer for attaching a DSLR, making this competent platform fully automated.
The Omegon Star Tracker Mini Track LX2 N is an amazing device when used with a lightweight, wide-angle telephoto lens.
This is amplified by the inclusion of a counterweight kit (a dovetail L-bracket and equatorial wedge) for using the Pro with zoom lenses up to about 400mm focal length. There are several star trackers available, though they are all different and meet slightly different requirements.
And just when you think the Star Adventurer has nothing else to offer you, you’ll find that you can guide it through its ST-4 port. For higher latitude, the maximum payload capacity will decrease even further.
Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer Mini – 5.Among the most common trackers, if you want to work with long telephoto lenses and heavy equipment, you should turn to the Skywatcher Star Adventurer Pro or the iOptron SkyGuide Pro. Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer Mini – 5.Move Shoot Move 2-in-1 – 3.
Among the most common trackers, if you want to work with long telephoto lenses and heavy equipment, you should turn to the Skywatcher Star Adventurer Pro or the iOptron SkyGuide Pro. Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer Mini – 5.Move Shoot Move 2-in-1 – 3.
The Omegon Minitrack LX2 and the Vixen Polarie have nothing to do with each other, as you don’t have to deal with a real polar scope. Due to its maximum load capacity of 2 kg, classic deep sky astrophotography is not its ideal hunting ground.
Luckily for astrophotographers and amateur photographers, today there are many excellent star tracker options to choose from. That polarscope comes with a red light mode to save your night vision, while the platform itself has a built-in intervalometer, so if your DSLR doesn’t have one built in you can simply attach it to the camera mount itself.
Whether you call them “sky trackers”, “tracking camera mounts” or any other similar combination, they all do the same thing. As a bonus, you can also make motion time-lapses with the Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer Mini.
A simple plastic tube is enough to polar align the Minitrack LX2 for wide star fields and starry landscapes. The best star trackers offer a portable rotating camera mount for taking long exposure nightscapes and Milky Way photography. The payload capacity varies from 5kg if used flat for time-lapse photography, to 2kg if used at 45 degrees.
The original portable tracking mount that is easy to set up (it uses a polarscope with Sky-Watcher’s free SynScan app for iOS and Android), the Pro is nevertheless a heavyweight in terms of design.
It has a mount that is fully mechanical and triggers 30 min tracking for up to 1000 panoramas, night sky time-lapse and photos. One of these trackers is the SLIK ECH-630 astro-tracker.
The Skywatcher Star Adventurer Pro and the iOptron SkyGuider Pro are capable enough to handle a small telescope for visual observation. The SILK ECH-630 has no optional counterweight, but has an optional base with micro-adjustments to easily align the tracker.
Vixen Optics Polarie Star Tracker – 4.Among the most common trackers, if you want to work with long telephoto lenses and heavy equipment, you should turn to the Skywatcher Star Adventurer Pro or the iOptron SkyGuide Pro. Vixen Optics Polarie Star Tracker – 4.From my personal experience using star trackers for astrophotography from the backyard and beyond, I think the most important aspect to consider is the user experience.
The Vixen Polarie Star tracker mount is a small equatorial tracking platform that can carry long objectives and scopes. The Vixen Polarie Star Tracker mount is a tiny equatorial tracking platform that can carry long targets and scopes.
The iOptron SkyGuider tracking mount is a lightweight and portable device, ideal for astrophotographers on the go. In my experience, most star trackers can carry at least 20% more than the stated payload weight limit. They can also be powered via a portable 5V DC power bank. If you can afford to buy the optional counterweight kit, the maximum payload will be an impressive 12kg.
The iOptron SkyTracker is a great alternative to the Star Adventurer Mini as it guarantees good performance and is capable of supporting payloads up to 3kg. Jamie has been writing about all aspects of technology for over 14 years, producing content for sites such as TechRadar, T3, Forbes, Mashable, MSN, South China Morning Post and BBC Wildlife, BBC Focus and BBC Sky At Night magazines.
The built-in AA battery compartment provides reliable mobile power for up to 72 hours, and an additional 5V mini-USB input allows for an external power source via a mobile charger or similar power banks. There is no battery meter, so in my experience you have to keep an eye on the batteries and change all 4 each time.
SkyView uses your phone’s screen and sensors to give you an augmented reality view of what’s in the sky. The app has been on the mobile software market since 2001 and is available for iOS, Android and Windows.
But really, any time is the right time to turn to a great stargazing app, especially if you want to learn more about the wonders of the night sky. You can also view the astronomical calendar or tap the clock face icon to select any date and time and observe the sky of different periods.
A night mode lets you look at the stars without burning out your night vision, and an augmented reality view superimposes the star chart over the camera view. The periscope view also offers sunrise and sunset times, as well as altitude and heading information, and a similar array of data about the visible planets and the sun and moon.
SkyWiki offers users a simple kit of useful features for stargazing with your Android pphone, including a GPS-assisted star map, a calendar of celestial events, a compass, and a periscope chart displaying vital information. If you put “stargazing” in the Google Play and App Store search field, you’ll find dozens of similar apps with bluish-purple icons and beautiful constellations in the screenshots.
SkySafari also has a constellation illustration overlay feature in case you can’t visualize the lion or bear that everyone else claims to see. The app offers users a mobile planetarium and an augmented reality sky guide that shows planets, stars, and constellations.
Sky Map uses your phone’s many sensors to calculate your geographic position and then display a detailed star map based on where your device is pointed. Whether it’s meteor showers, lunar eclipses or full moons, these apps let you make the most of any celestial event.
If you want to find more space objects without paying extra, use Night Sky (available for iOS only). The current version of this best skywatching app offers a rich offline database of stars, planets, and other celestial objects that you can view in an AR star chart, complete with animated visualizations and information about the history, mythology, and science behind these celestial objects.
You can also flip things around with a 3D view of the globe or a geocentric or heliocentric view of the solar system. If they’re on a mobile device, the best stargazing apps can point to the sky to quickly identify constellations and asterisms, perhaps pinpointing a particularly bright spot like Venus or Sirius.
Apple Watch compatibility allows you to receive notifications for things like the flight of the International Space Station; you can also view solar activity or a complication of the Moon. The main functions of all the stargazing apps are the same: learn what stars are visible in the sky, view them in augmented reality, and read more about celestial objects. To enhance the constellations, Star Tracker has a charting feature for the 12 signs of the zodiac and six famous deep sky objects. And things only get more sophisticated thanks to augmented reality, which can overlay information on the night sky or recreate the stars above when you’re stuck indoors.
Users can watch live NASA TV, browse a growing archive of more than 16,000 images from NASA probes, missions, and other sources, and check out the latest space news. But for some of the best stargazing apps you can find for your phone, here’s what we discovered in our explorations of the app store. The feature will tell you all the upcoming astronomical events and celestial objects visible for your location. While it’s not exactly a planetarium simulator or a VR stargazing app, SkyWiki has one of the best interfaces on this list.
You can set the app to display the sky based on your current location, date, and time, or time travel by setting the location, date, and time yourself; the latter feature lets you see the night sky as it was in the past or as it will be in the future. Skymap automatically calibrates itself based on your device’s location, displaying a projected night sky; crosshairs indicate where your phone is currently pointing to help you orient your view.
The official NASA app is a great way to explore the vast reaches of the cosmos without having to leave your smartphone behind. Terminal Eleven’s SkyView app gives you a good idea of what to expect from good all-in-one skywatching and sky guide apps.
The International Space Station (ISS) app, available for free on iOS and Android, doesn’t technically show the stars, but you can see the planets and the ISS itself. For Android, there’s Stellarium, with which you can see asteroids, comets, deep sky objects, satellites, and more for free. You’ll want to have one of the best stargazing apps on your phone whenever there’s a big astronomical event. Plus, Skyview has a time travel option to observe what the sky was like in the past and what it might be like in the future.
SkEye is a mobile planetarium app for Android devices that works as a PUSHTO guide for optical telescopes. IOS 11 added a new twist with an augmented reality view that overlays the star map onto the camera view. The Star tracker app works on iOS (lite) and Android to show you 88 constellations, over 8,000 and deep sky objects, and the sun, moon and planets, all in real time. The free version available for Android is known as Solar Walk 2 Free; for iOS, there’s Solar Walk 2 Ads .
The mobile app features a catalog of more than 600,000 stars on a zoomable map that can also be used as a viewer and star or satellite identifier by pointing the phone at the night sky. The app’s Sky Path’s feature allows you to track objects in space to see their exact location at any date and time. You can view the night sky as it is now, or use the time machine feature to see the sky in the past or future. It’s an especially good option for when you’re stuck at home, but still want to gaze at the stars.
The map includes constellations, star names and planets, and is a great app for stargazers. Combining official news articles, tweets, videos, photos, and features from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the NASA app offers everything you could want from one of the best stargazing apps.
Users can pull up the Apple Watch to identify objects in the sky, or look down to see a celestial compass that gives an overview of the objects visible tonight. Even if you’re not prone to staying up at night with your phone in the air, you can use stargazing apps to predict what’s happening in the night sky and know when to be outside, looking up, to better appreciate it.
Pocket Universe is another great all-in-one skywatching app for iPhones that provides both a portable sky map and a host of extras, such as augmented reality modes. SkEye works like most star mapping apps, with a built-in star object catalog, a search function, and a time machine mode for viewing the night sky in the past or future.
The view of this best stargazing app is configurable, and users can change constellations, names of planets and major stars, and equatorial and azimuthal grids. Like the best star mapping apps, Sky Guide uses the phone’s sensors and screen to display a map of the sky wherever the phone is pointed, identifying stars and planets.
Skysafari 6 Pro is a very comprehensive app in the pricier end of the market and is packed with information about the night sky, so you’re almost certain to learn something from it, even if you’re a veteran stargazer steeped in astronomical knowledge.
Users can turn their smartphones and tablets into AR viewers to identify stars, planets, and constellations; the app can show the trajectory of an object in the sky, as well as information about specific objects, planets, and satellites. In addition to showing you the sky as it is now, you can also travel back in time to see the sky as it was or will be on certain dates. SkySarfari has all the augmented reality tools you’d expect in a stargazing app, and you can even control them with your voice.
Whether it’s looking up the constellations in a mobile star app or turning to some other astronomical aid, the best stargazing apps put a planetarium in the palm of your hand. The Time Machine slider on this best stargazing app lets you view the skies of the past or future, and you can tap on individual objects for more details.
Users can view thousands of stars, satellites, planets, and constellations in this best stargazing app for iOS. While you can’t technically use the app to stargaze in the same vein as others on this list, you can get up close and personal with space.
Users can view asterisms and constellations from different cultures, as well as look for artificial satellites. Night Sky on iOS is a gorgeous app that takes advantage of Apple’s push into AR apps to offer a really beautiful augmented reality sky map.
Another favorite for iOS users looking for the best stargazing apps is Sky Guide, a handy GPS-assisted sky map and recognition tool for detecting and identifying constellations, stars, planets, and satellites. Although it resembles a planetarium or stargazing app, SkEye really stands out as a tool for backyard or observational astronomers.
Star Walk 2 also offers fun and educational astronomy quizzes and news about upcoming stargazing events with information on how and when to view them. Google Sky lets you explore the reaches of space through the eyes of the Hubble Space Telescope, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the Digitized Sky Survey.
Star Walk is an educational astronomy app developed by Vito Technology that allows users to explore celestial objects in real time through the screen of their devices. The sky guide view has numerous layers that can be turned on or off, such as constellations and star names, a sky gradient, and coordinate guide lines.
star finder application
Formerly a Google project that has gone open source, sky map is an augmented reality app that turns your smartphone or tablet into a mobile planetarium. The star finder app works on iOS (lite) and Android to show you 88 constellations, over 8,000 deep sky objects, and the sun, moon, and planets, all in real time.
This app also features a handy red-tinted night mode for outdoor use and even atmospheric, tranquil music that serves as the perfect backdrop for the constellations. With this app installed, you can tether your phone to your telescope’s OTA to guide you on where to look.
No space adventure at home is complete without the free official NASA app, which you can download for iOS or Android. It can direct you to the section of the sky to observe, to find the object you want, or you can “time travel” and find out where the object will be at a different (later) time of night.
I’ve used this app on and off for a few years, but in the last few months, with a lot more dark weather in the northern hemisphere, I’ve used it almost daily. There are many other free astronomy-themed apps with interesting features, such as the official NASA app, which offers a wealth of ringtones made from sounds of planetary launches or broadcasts, or Dark Sky Map, which overlays light pollution data onto Google Maps in order to guide users to ideal places to view the night sky.
Google Sky Map uses compass and GPS data to pinpoint the celestial object you’re pointing your phone at. Once you enter your location – the only permission the app asks for – it can tell you how often you can expect to see the ISS in the sky. Aside from the augmented reality applications that Star Chart offers users, this app goes even further when it comes to time travel, some 10,000 years forward or backward in time. To enhance the constellations, Star tracker has a charting feature for the 12 zodiac signs and six famous deep sky objects.
The app also keeps you up to date on NASA missions, launch information, upcoming sightings, news and tweets from the agency. Whether April’s Rose Supermoon has sparked your love of astronomy or you want to be prepared for when the Perseids meteor shower arrives, you should start by checking out these best stargazing apps.
You can also change your location to view the night sky from other points on Earth, and in-app purchases unlock enhanced star catalogs, meteor showers, comets, etc. Compared to previous apps, StarTracker follows a similar pattern; it offers an interactive view of the night sky with constellation, star and planet names.
With its large screen and 180-degree view, it shows you information about any star or planet you can see with the naked eye. We’ve seen a surprisingly bright Venus, the ISS speeding by and some shooting stars, thanks in part to the help of some apps.
Star map app
Sky Map, a Google project that has gone open source, is an augmented reality app that turns your smartphone or tablet into a mobile planetarium. The sky view displays right ascension, declination, altitude and azimuth coordinates, hour angle, phone battery, as well as object name, type, magnitude, and apparent size.
IOS 11 added a new twist with an augmented reality view that overlays the star map on top of the camera view. Users can see thousands of stars, satellites, planets and constellations in this best stargazing app for iOS.
Compared to the other apps, Star Chart struggles to stand out, especially considering that its best features are locked behind a paywall. This best stargazing app’s view is configurable, and users can change constellations, the names of planets and major stars, and equatorial and azimuthal grids.
Pocket Universe is another great all-in-one skywatching app for iPhones that offers both a portable sky map and a host of extras, such as augmented reality modes. Plus, you can customize the size of the stars and planets in the sky, which makes the app more accessible for users with low vision.
The next time you find yourself on a night walk or looking for a way to entertain the kids in the backyard after sunset, pull out one of these apps and prepare to be amazed.