Common Sense


Best Astronomy Apps and Websites for Students

There's tons of tech out there for learning about astronomy, but this list features our favorites, including tools that map the sky, reveal the wonders of the universe, and even get kids building spaceships or visiting the moon. Astronomy and space science cover a lot of topics: light, telescopes, orbits, gravity, stars, the solar system, even relativity and space-time. These tools not only help students understand the mechanics and motion of celestial bodies, but also appreciate the vastness of the universe and our humble place in it.

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Top Picks


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Ready Jet Go! Space Explorer

Super cool to see real sky, yet astronomy info only scratches surface

Bottom line: Despite the downsides, there's enough appeal to make this a nice first step to explore the sky -- even more so because it's free.

Star Walk Kids: Astronomy Game

Virtually step into the night sky with this stellar space resource

Bottom line: Interactive tool is an excellent resource for kids who are curious about space.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory

STEM lessons creatively build off of NASA data and real space missions

Bottom line: These hands-on lessons approximate the work of NASA scientists, engineers, and astronauts and make use of actual NASA satellite data.

Arloon Solar System

Interactive 3-D tool lets kids discover and explore the solar system

Bottom line: A detailed, thought-provoking tool for taking an interactive journey through the solar system.

Space by Tinybop

Zoom into our solar system, solve mysteries with open-ended play

Bottom line: Learn about the sun, moon, and planets through interactive open-ended play.


Visually super NASA-backed treasure trove may overwhelm

Bottom line: A visually stunning way to get kids interested in science and space exploration.

DIY Sun Science

Exciting astronomy resource brightens learning in the classroom

Bottom line: Excellent, free reference tool inspires and teaches kids about the sun.

Apollo 11 VR

Thrilling VR experience needs creative teaching to truly soar

Bottom line: If infused with good teaching, this cinematic experience can provide a rich, unforgettable adventure.

NASA Visualization Explorer

Updated stories help kids stay up to speed with space exploration

Bottom line: Weekly updates and striking visuals make it easy for kids to stay informed about NASA's most recent discoveries.

Common Sense Selection

Sky Guide

Awesome astronomy app takes students on a journey through the universe

Bottom line: A quality, affordable way to bring true astronomy study to the classroom, even during the day, with a plethora of viewing options.

Star Chart

Powerful pocket-sized map of the universe delights

Bottom line: A great way to supplement or stimulate kids' love of stargazing.

NASA: Solar System Exploration

Highly visual, interactive site could overwhelm with so many resources

Bottom line: This NASA product provides extensive resources about astronomy, space technology, and space history, but navigating the site to find specific resources takes patience.

Sky Map

Encourage planetary appreciation with fab free app

Bottom line: A sharp pocket-planetarium tool that can help foster students’ curiosity about the universe.

Galaxy Zoo

Citizen science site involves, inspires budding astronomers

Bottom line: Classifying, comparing, and analyzing galactic data with this great, free tool can be influential to kids' involvement with science.

Mobile Observatory

Impressive tool for stargazing and identifying objects in the sky

Bottom line: It's an excellent hands-on astronomy reference tool.


Online science, mastered: exceptional content within meaningful tasks

Bottom line: Serious, sophisticated science engagement -- but be prepared to take some prep time to connect these labs with your classroom.

Planet Mechanic

Mini-solar system sandbox lets kids play with planets

Bottom line: Provides students with an interactive conceptual primer on some key planetary science concepts.


Cool features and context enhance this powerful mobile planetarium

Bottom line: This is a professional-grade tool with beautiful images and features that pique curiosity and encourage exploratory learning.

Stellarium Mobile Sky Map

Beautiful mobile planetarium, extensive learning opportunities

Bottom line: It truly brings the night sky up close, beautifully and with accessible, informative details.

Universe Sandbox

Superb sandbox for astrophysics experimentation

Bottom line: An impressive -- and complex -- tool that encourages a playful, systems thinking-oriented exploration of the universe and astrophysics.

Mars Student Imaging Project

Take science research out of this world with NASA's Mars project

Bottom line: One of the best authentic inquiry space experiences out there: Use this tool to grow the next generation of researchers in your classroom.

WorldWide Telescope

Treasure trove of astronomical imagery and facts

Bottom line: A bit like a jazzed-up textbook, the game curates an incredible amount of top-notch content great for learning about the universe.

Kerbal Space Program

Design and launch a rocket into space in realistic astrophysics sim

Bottom line: This accurate rocket sim encourages trial-and-error learning and makes for great (and often explosive) physics and engineering experiments.

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