Star Chart Virtual Reality App Puts Planetarium on Your Smartphone

Saturn in Star Chart for VR
A close-up of Saturn in Star Chart for VR. (Image credit: Star Chart)

A new virtual reality app lets users explore the solar system up close, from scorching-hot Mercury to faraway Pluto and beyond.

The app, called Star Chart for VR, is billed as the first virtual reality planetarium. When used with the Google Cardboard viewer, it lets viewers experience virtual reality via their smartphones or other mobile devices.

Star Chart for VR currently includes a 3D solar system (complete with sun, planets and major moons), 88 night-sky constellations and a real-time view of the planets and stars that are visible from Earth.

"You can finally let your inner child’s astronaut loose to explore space, the night sky and our solar system in detail," reads a statement that the app's maker, Escapist Games, sent to

"From the tiny moons of Mars to the farthest reaches of the Pluto system, from constellations and stars to looking down on Earth, you’ll get a perspective on the size and scale of the universe you’ve never had before — you’ll actually be there!" the statement adds.

Major features of Mars in Star Chart for VR. (Image credit: Star Chart)

Star Chart for VR is based on the augmented-reality stargazing and astronomy app Star Chart, which has 20 million users across the world. Escapist Games' catalog of games includes Star Chart, Mountain Biker and Nuclear, the last of which allows users to build the elements of the periodic table.

The virtual reality version of Star Chart is now available on Gear VR and Google Play, and will soon be released for Apple iOS systems (such as the iPad and iPhone).

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: