Sun & Moon Watching On Your Phone

howlingwolfSun, Planet & Moon Phase Apps

After posting my full moon picture yesterday I received a question about using apps for Sun and Moon watching on your smart phone. I recently upgraded my phone to a smart phone and had an opportunity to do some research on this subject.

Now I might be an IT Geek but I am by no means a professional cell phone / app tech or reporter. So take this for what it’s worth, it’s simply a consumer’s review and it certainly doesn’t cover all astronomical apps available on the market.

Additionally, my phone is an Android so I have no experience with iPhone apps. But I’m sure there are equivalent options available in iPhone and IPads.

I strongly suggest looking at the ratings provided to the app by other uses before you purchase an app. Read the reviews and see what others say about it. One thing I learned to look at are the number of users who rated the app. If an app has 5 gold stars and only 3 people have used it then you may not be getting what you’ve bargained for. However if the app has a 4 star rating and 600,000 users, I’d say that’s a pretty good app.

With all that said, here are a few Sun and Moon apps you might like to look into on GooglePlay. Prices listed are as of the date of this posting.

I guess I should give notice about my two favorites that I use each week. That would be Sundroid Pro and Moon Phase Pro. But read about all these and check out a few for yourself.

sundroid Sundroid Free – Sunrise Sunset by Visalia Mobile Ltd:
One thing I really like about the FREE and PRO versions are that they share their data in laymen terms. (Update 12/2014 – Visalia no longer offers the Free version. Dagnabit!)

Sundroid Pro – Sunrise Sunset by Visalia Mobile Ltd:
Everything you need to know about the movements of the sun, moon and planets! Calculates sunrise, sunset, twilights, golden hours, length of day, the path of the sun and moon, moonrise & moonset times and more for any date, anywhere in the world. Handy for astronomy, photography, outdoor activities, planning gardens, holidays, hunting, and more. Four widgets are included so the information is at your fingertips when you need it.

Between these two the Pro version of course provides more features one of which is handy planetary data.  But one of the big things it provides is a Reminder Notification feature. And I USE THIS ALL THE TIME! You can set a remind for different events for the day. For instance it will give you a pop-up alarm notification at Moon Rise. Something that’s very helpful for any magik practitioner.  Where it gives you notifications for daily events, it doesn’t give you a reminder for the changes in the moon phase. For that I use Moon Phase Pro.

If you like the way this one looks, I recommend the pro version.

Lunar Phase and Moon Calendar by AndScaloid:
Offers a bit more technical information for astronomers. Pretty nice app for being free. Lunar Phase application enables you to see information regarding the state and the position of the moon and of the sun. It offers views too about the moon as you can see it in the sky. Notifications are available to not miss its various phases and state ascending or descending.  The application can be added on your screen as a widget as well (see “Lunar Phase Widget”).

It’s good, but it’s a bit more technical than what I wanted. But if you’re an astronomer you’d probably like this one.

moonphaseMoon Phase Pro by Udell Enterprises, Inc: ☆☆☆☆
3D interactive display of moon phase, angle, rise/set times, & nearest syzygies. Spectacular, interactive 3D simulation of the moon, right down to the shadows in the craters and earthshine on the dark side. Touch screen control changes date and time as seen from your location – the moon tracks your every move. One of PC Magazine’s 15 Best Nook Tablet Apps.

This was the first Moon app I installed on my phone and I love it. It displays the moon phase in the notification bar at the top of the phone which I like a lot. You can choose the option to have your phone ring an alarm when that notification occurs. I have a reminder set for a few days a head of the phase change so I have time to get ready for a ritual or make plans for an Esbat ceremony I’m officiating. So I never miss a phase change or a daily event between this app and SunDroid.

It provides a great deal of lunar information which is very helpful when you’re planning rituals and alike.

It has one feature I don’t like. It tells you when the next moon phase will be by telling you how long away it is, or how long ago it was. For instance the full moon in the screen shot is 3 days and 8 hours away as displayed at the bottom right of the screen. Or if you look in the top left you’ll see the New Moon was 11 days and 15 hours ago. At times this is good to know, but I find myself looking for the Naval Observatory time for the event. Not how far away it is. Other than that, I still love this app.

But it makes up for that by providing a graphical calendar for the month which allows you to schedule events. I love that! This is similar to the phase calendar I provided on my Working with the Moon calendar. So how cool is that?!

To be honest I find myself using the Sundroid app for Solar and Planetary information as needed. But I do use this one much more. I prefer it’s layout and data display over Sundroid’s Lunar presentation.

mobileobservMobile Observatory – Astronomy by KreApp Development Software:
One of the most complete astronomy apps available for Android devices and the perfect tool for anybody interested in the sky’s wonders, from the occasional sky gazer to the passionate amateur astronomer.

You want to know if the next lunar eclipse is visible from your location or when the next bright comet is visible? You would like to be notified by your smart phone the next time, Jupiter and the Moon meet in the sky? This app is for you.

This app is fantastic if you’re an astronomer. I think even professional astronomers would like it. It provides more than a chart of numbers and times, it also provides general overview information about an objects you want to focus on. It’s like having an encyclopedia of the skies in your hands.

It does a great deal more than what I need, but my husband would love using this in the back yard with his big telescope.

Moon Phase and Zodiac – by ADVLP : -☆ <- that’s a minus 1
Don’t bother. I had high hopes for this one and was very disappointed. The calendar isn’t accurate. In August 2012 the full moon occurred on August 31st according to the Naval Observatory. However this calendar displays the full moon as September 4th. No matter how pretty it is, it’s not worth the effort if it’s not accurate.

There are a ton of other apps that provide this information. Which one you choose will depend on what you’re looking for. If you only want the Moon phase and Lunar information you can find plenty of those. If you want an app that provides lunar and solar information, I recommend one of the Sundroid versions. If you would like an app that provides additional information perfect for an astronomer then you might look at the Mobile Observatory.

© Springwolfs Hanko

© 2012 Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D. Springwolf Reflections / Springs Haven, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


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