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does anyone use a planetarium app as a finder?

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eg something like this


i haven't got a smart phone (yes i'm afraid its true) but if u have its seems like the perfect solution

for finding yr way around the sky especially with a dob where the finder seems a bit awkward t o use.

is there a phone caddy attachment for scopes i wonder?

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There are holders around out there which you could use to attach to your scope. I think there are a number of people that do this.

My personal opinion is that you are better off with a star atlas and red torch. Smartphone screens are very bright, even in red light modes and will kill your night vision. This makes it much harder to see the stuff you are trying to find!!

I had direct evidence of this myself. I was trying to find the Veil Nebula one night in a 4" scope and used a smartphone to verify the position. Even half an hour or more later I was struggling to pick up the fainter parts. Next night, same conditions I didn't look at the phone all evening and could pick out all the elements of the Veil.

I think they are very useful for finding your way around the sky and getting orientated but just be aware of what they do to your night vision.



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I use my laptop as a finder, but more a "general area" finder than an exact one. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on point of view), my laptop doesn't affect my night vision as there are enough street lights to do that for me (I usually use my hand and cup it around the eyepiece to block any light coming in that I don't want there).

If you're in a dark site though, a red light torch with a planisphere / star atlas is a must.

Edited by Naemeth
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just brought my first smart phone last week so made a bracket for scope and mounted it with skyeye as a push to, only tryied it once so far, it gets me close, found m42 very fast as a test then had quite a bit of success but it`s far from exact, but not too bad with a wide angle eyepiece, still worth doing to get you in the right area.

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Smartphone screens are very bright, even in red light modes and will kill your night vision.

i wondered about that - one solution could be a talking app which gives u audio feedback but ur

still stuck with the problem of telling the app yr intended target -u could use voice recog i guess.

surely modern tech is good enough to recognise voice commands like "saturn" or "m42" and then

the app could tell you where to point the scope eg left,right up down till u get there.

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I'm sure all that is possible.....

....again, from a personal perspective, I think these apps are great for finding your way around and getting orientated when you are not properly observing. Get to know the sky using the phone, but when observing properly, go for a star chart and red torch, you will see much more!

Just my thoughts


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