In the world of free apps, it is easy to find useless, poorly written and feature lacking software. The app “Planets” has managed to avoid all of these terrible fates and still remain a free app.

First let me start by saying, this is not by any means the right app for anyone that is looking for a professional star-gazing app to bring with them when searching for far off galaxies. It is however the perfect app for the average Joe to go out in their yard or on a camping trip and pull out their telescope to view constellations and planets.

For those interested in taking a look at the solar system, there is a 2D image of the sky which shows the exact location of the planets at that moment using your current time and location. There is north, south, east, and west compass points to help you identify the proper direction, and the screen will even flip itself when held overhead so you can look up while trying to pinpoint a location.

If you are looking to get more into the star-gazing, there is a 3D sky view with labels to identify the more popular constellations, and it includes their current relation to the planets, moon, and sun (although you won’t be doing much star-gazing if the sun is out, at least you can satisfy your curiosity by knowing where they are).

Another useful feature when trying to plan a trip is the Visibility screen which shows the exact rise and setting times of the various planets. Now if you want to view Saturn there is no need to sit outside and wait for it to show up!

The app works on both the iPhone and the iPod touch, and just today and new version was released supporting the iPad as well. You can find it in the App Store here.

3D View Visability 2D View