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Pocket Universe: Virtual Sky Astronomy

By John Kennedy

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There's never been a better time to get into Astronomy! Start off easy. with an app that will guide you around the night sky - and even entertain you a little when the skies are cloudy.

"The app works beautifully, making astronomy a bit less mysterious—but no less remarkable", MacWorld

"It’s truly an impressive marvel. 5 Mice out of 5", MacWorld.

" of the prettiest and easiest to use. And at three bucks, it’s a steal", Cult of Mac.

Apple App Store Staff Favorite

Voted Best Educational iPhone Application by AppAdvice


Note: Interested in beta testing the next version? Contact me with your email address :-)


Pocket Universe

Have you ever looked up at the night sky, and wondered what exactly you were looking at? Pocket Universe is an easy-to-use app that will help you learn the names of constellations, bright stars, planets and more. You can literally hold up your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch in front of you, and the app will use the built-in compass to display the same view of the sky you see - but one that's complete with names and information.

Then explore the Solar System, and take virtual walks on the surface of the Moon and Mars, before playing a game to help you learn more about astronomy that you thought possible.

Every night there is something to see: Pocket Universe will provide you a list of suggestions, as well as give you regularly updated news and observation tips - which you can even share with your friends.

You don’t need to be an expert to use Pocket Universe, and everything you see has a useful pop-up information window and links to Wikipedia for the latest information.

With over 80,000 stars, beautiful textures, built-in quiz games, updated news, lunar phases, information on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, an Orrery view, and more, there’s so much to explore.

For support or to ask a question, feel free to send a direct message on Twitter to @CraicDesign or email

Key Features

Pocket Universe was the first iPhone astronomy app to support the built-in compass, and it was also the first to add a true augmented reality view using the iPhone's built-in camera! Use the camera view in the evening or morning sky to overlay the labelled view over the real sky.

Simply hold up your iPhone in front of you, and the view will be exactly what you see - but with names and information at your fingertips. Move the iPhone around to see the view change in real-time. As previous iPhone models and the iPod Touch do not have a compass, the up/down movement is automatic, but you will need to drag the display left/right yourself.

Easy-to-use astronomy application, which focuses on helping you answer the question "What's that in the sky?"

• Works on all iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch devices running iOS 5 (iOS 7 recommended)

• Tracks the International Space Station, and predicts sightings

• Special "Show Me" mode will guide you to named stars, planets, constellations as well as the brightest galaxies and nebulae.

• "Tonight's Sky" and "Objects and Events" will keep you up-to-date, and give you suggestions for what to look for when you head outside.

• Constellation and Star Quiz to help you learn your way around the sky.

• Works in Northern Hemisphere and ‘Down Under’ too.

• Links to Wikipedia articles for the latest information.

• Responsive customer support, frequent updates.

Please note: Network access is only required to view supplementary web-based news and Wikipedia text. This app never transmits data from your device.

Note: iOS 8.x is recommended.

Note: Non-English localizations focus on solar system objects and constellation names.

What's New in Version 5.9.5

Meanwhile, far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the galaxy, on a planet orbiting a small unregarded yellow sun, an ape descendant spent his evenings and weekends working on fixing some software that other ape descendants used on their phones to look at the sky. On this particular planet, ape descendants thought phones were a pretty neat idea, and they would spend all their time staring at the screens and sending each other pictures of themselves and arguing about an ape descendant with orange hair.

The planet had a problem, and the problem was that many of the people on it were unhappy. Many solutions were proposed, but most of them involved the people just being nice to each other, and for some reason, many of the people on that planet weren't very good at doing that, and insisted on telling all the other people what they were doing wrong, and what they should be doing instead.

The ape descendent working on the software didn't like it when all the people were being mean to each other, and instead tried to write software to show them that they were all really rather small organic things, floating on a rock in a gigantic universe, and what they all needed was to get some perspective and just chill out a lot more.

And so:

New! Night tour - your nightly talking guide! Available when the sky is dark.
New! Dashboard now has at-a-glance What's up view (tap it for more).
Fixed! Fixed issues with location and location access requests.
Fixed! Resolved problems switching to and from landscape for many views.
Fixed! Corrected WikiPedia links issue.
Fixed! Compass points location position corrected on iPad.
Removed! Took out the secret stereo mode for now, as it caused Bad Things to happen.
Tweaked! Updated launch screen and opening animation.
Tweaked! Controls on Virtual Sky view updated.
Tweaked! Milky Way visibility adjusted.
Terminated! Loads of bugs given a good hasta la vista, baby.


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Customer Reviews

The best!

I've just been sitting on my porch, getting acquainted with the night sky. Easy to identify various constellations and individual stars, and if you put a star in the crosshairs, pocket universe connects to a small onboard database, or the appropiate Wikipedia entry. This is a robust, well-engineered application, very helpful for amateur astronomers or physicists like me. It is packed with features, all well-implemented and seamless, at a bargain price.

Simplifies the sky, helps with where to plant a shade tree

Continues to add features, years after we purchased this app. It also works in the daytime. In the northwest, the path of the sun varies dramatically over the course of a year. We predicted the path of the sun and assisted my son-in-law with where to plant a tree for maximal shade for the hottest room of the house

Still Great!

This has been my go-to app for star gazing for years. It's not often to find something so well done which only continues to get better. To the developers: 👏🏻 Please keep up the great work!

Pocket Universe: Virtual Sky Astronomy
View in iTunes
This app is designed for both iPhone and iPad
  • $2.99
  • Category: Education
  • Updated:
  • Version: 5.9.5
  • Size: 63.3 MB
  • Languages: English, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Japanese, Swedish
  • Seller:

Compatibility: Requires iOS 9.1 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

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