Sky Safari is a very mature and featureful planetarium app from Simulation Curriculum Corp available on Android, iOS, and macOS. There are at least three versions of Sky Safari from plus a Celestron-specific version called Sky Portal available on Android and iOS.
- Sky Safari – Astronomy App (Free)
Entry level app with plenty of features for the amateur astronomer to see how the sky did or will look at any time from anyplace on Earth. Easily locate the vast majority of the well known objects in the sky visible to small/modest sized scopes and binoculars, and a planner to prepare target lists and astronomical events ahead of time. Use your device’s sensors to point it at in the sky and learn all about what you’re looking at, etc.
- Sky Portal (Free)
This is essentially the entry level Sky Safari app, but with the added ability to control only Celestron mounts.
- Sky Safari Plus ($9.99)
Everything in the basic version, plus a library with orders of magnitude more stars, galaxies, asteroids, and other sky objects as well as the ability to control telescope mounts of various brands from within the app. Generally good enough for anyone with a mid size telescope or smaller and a computerized GoTo mount.
- Sky Safari Pro ($39.99)
Everything in the plus version, plus a massively larger library of stars, galaxies, and solar system objects including every comet and asteroid ever found. Also includes a high resolution moon map. Because it includes many dimmer stars and targets as well as a high resolution Moon map, this version is a good option for those with high power telescopes or whom
For a full comparison of the features, find the “Click for Comparison Charts” button on the Sky Safari product page for your device platform on the Simulation Curriculum Corp website. Most, if not all, features are the same regardless of your device platform, but using a lower end device may prevent the use of some. For instance, some cheaper Android cell phones don’t have a built in compass or gyro, which are needed for the “point to identify” feature.
Celestron outlines the features of Sky Portal here.
Note that to date I have never seen an upgrade discount to go from Plus to Pro. Relative to almost anything else in the hobby of Astronomy, neither version is terribly expensive (especially if you buy when they are on sale, see below), but just be aware that if you buy Plus now and decide Pro would be useful later you will be buying it at sticker price.
SkySafari Plus and Pro have historically come on sale for up to 50% off around NEAF*, some major US holidays, and Black Friday/Cyber Monday. So, if you’re looking to buy and not in a rush you might save a few bucks by watching out for sales.
*NEAF is usually held in April, but we’ll see where it lands after we come out of the COVID-19 quarantining.