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4 iPad Apps for Aspiring Astronauts

Astronomy and astrophysics might be above the heads of the average parent, but you can still encourage your children to soak up knowledge about space. Here are four terrific iPad apps that will help you to explore the sky with your kids:

Star Chart
This free app is an educational augmented reality tool that helps you and your kids to understand the nighttime sky.

Just point your device’s camera at the stars, and the app will tell you exactly what you’re seeing in the sky.

Star Chart has been downloaded more than 7 million times on iTunes, and has an average customer rating of 4.5 stars. Developed by Feel Great Publishing Limited and available for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

The Planets app shows 2D and 3D views of constellations and planets in the sky. Apple customer reviews call the app “simple and intuitive”. Others call it a “great aid for teaching”, and say that it’s a “fantastic application for teaching the solar system to kids.”

Planets has an average 5-star Apple customer rating, and has been downloaded more than 8 million times. The app – developed by Q Continuum — is free, and is compatible with iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.

Hubble Space Telescope Discoveries
This highly interactive and free eBook features stunning Hubble telescope images and videos from Hubble’s 20+ years of space observations. Learn about — and see photos of — comets, planets, the death of stars, the birth of new solar systems, and more.

The Hubble Space Telescope Discoveries interactive eBook has an average 5-star Apple customer rating, with outstanding customer comments. The eBook was published by the Space Telescope Science Institute with contributions from and

We should also mention Edwin Hubble, for whom the Telescope is named, was born in Marshfield, MO. A miniature version of the telescope can be found at the Webster County Courthouse.

In case you didn’t know (we certainly didn’t), exoplanets are planets that orbit stars outside of our solar system. As new exoplanets are discovered, this app will alert you and your kids!

3D models allow you to explore the Milky Way’s known exoplanets, and an augmented reality feature like the one used in Star Chart (above) allows you to point your phone or iPad at the sky to find exoplanets.

Exoplanet is free for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, and Apple customers give the app an average 5-star review.

Have you found other interactive astronomy apps that you’ve used with your kids? Leave a comment, and share your recommendations with other Missouri parents!

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