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5haan_A

What software apps do you use?

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Hi,

What software or apps do you use to help you get around the night sky easier? 

Currently I might use starmap on my phone to help me when I'm out observing and I recently downloaded sterllarium, but I'm still getting to grips with it.

Thanks,

 

Shaan

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Hi Shaan,

I use the excellent Sky Safari 5 (which has just become FREE! https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.simulationcurriculum.skysafari5)  on a cheap tablet for information on objects and to see what DSOs or interesting objects are around and where. It can control the EQ6 too but I use Prism v10 for everything else....camera control and focus, telescope control etc.

There are many great free scope control packages like Audela or sky chart software like Cartes du Ceil which people use too.

I think Sky Safari is the most popular though.

 

Edited by Stu Todd

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I think for a phone/tablet Sky Safari is the best option at the moment. I use the Plus version, the standard version didn't have enough stars for my liking. Also, I'm not sure if the standard one allows you to input your equipment in order to overlay field of view rings over the map. At least now it is free you can try it and find out.

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I use star walk 2 and star guide. Both apps are very similar. I am not sure how they differ from sky safari but I think most apps offer most of the same thing when you purchase a premium account. 

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+1 for SkySafari (Plus will do; Pro in my case due to the 18" Dob's demands). What I appreciate most, is it's option to display the accurate field of view for all of your scope(s) - eyepiece combinations, as well as for finders and sensors. Set the star/DSO brightness according to the limits of your scope and sky, and you get on the display the exact representation of the observed star field - a priceless feature for star hopping!  SkySafari has, in that way, replaced most of my star atlases and maps (and the nice collection is slowly gathering dust!). It's running reliably on my Sony Xperia Z Compact smartphone (additionally dimmed with the light shield "Red Eyes Cling Xtra Dark" from http://www.siriusastroproducts.com/index.html

(no affiliation etc., of course)).

For DSO descriptions, I'm still using printed guides, e.g. the "Night Sky Observer's Guide", as SkySafari is giving descriptions of the visual impression only for the bright objects.

Hth.

Stephan

 

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6 hours ago, Ricochet said:

I think for a phone/tablet Sky Safari is the best option at the moment. I use the Plus version, the standard version didn't have enough stars for my liking. Also, I'm not sure if the standard one allows you to input your equipment in order to overlay field of view rings over the map. At least now it is free you can try it and find out.

Just downloaded it. Thanks it looks really good. 

 

4 hours ago, Nyctimene said:

+1 for SkySafari (Plus will do; Pro in my case due to the 18" Dob's demands). What I appreciate most, is it's option to display the accurate field of view for all of your scope(s) - eyepiece combinations, as well as for finders and sensors. Set the star/DSO brightness according to the limits of your scope and sky, and you get on the display the exact representation of the observed star field

 

Somehow I'm struggling to visualise what an 18 inch dob looks like. It must give u incredible views. 

Agree that being able to see and accurate FOV is priceless like you said.

 

 

Thanks,

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I just looked into sky safari and boy was I wrong it offers a lot more than the apps I’m using. This post has opened my eyes :)

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I use mostly stellarium on my computer. I have sky map on my phone but hardly use it. I have my scopes configuration set in Stellarium. When I'm planning my night I use Stellarium's telescope view as a reference for the star patterns I'm looking for to find and confirm my target. It's also been great for reference star RA/DEC that I use to find my DSO targets. 

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I use Stellarium PC and the mobile version for field work. I have been using the PC version for planning, and to get an idea what will be visible and when, and I find the telescope/optic view to be invaluable. This season, I will probably start bringing the PC version out in the field, using a Window tablet. The mobile version is primarily used to get Az/Alt for my Z10`s manual setting circles. 

I have also had SkEye Pro on my phone and have used that on occasion, but find it a bit more "clunky" than Stellarium. 

 

I also have Sky Safari 6 Pro, but that is pretty much just used when my daughter comes on a viewing session with me, so she can follow along. I think if I had DSC's on my scope, or on a future scope, SS6 would probably get used more. 

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I tried SkEye but got rid of it after a few days. All it did was jump around on it's own. But I'll definitely keep Sky Map.

I agree about Stellarium. It's definitely invaluable! Even when Im not viewing, I catch myself messing with it.

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58 minutes ago, ollypenrice said:

None!

I want to be dark adapted.

Olly

Same here. If you are chasing faint targets, you don't want any light near your eyes at all. I found the value of that out during my attempts to see the Horsehead Nebula last year - makes a real difference to how "deep" you can go.

For planetary viewing the opposite is required !

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Star walk 2 and sky safari 5 and Night Sky. They’re all good but I got Star Walk 2 first a few years ago so that’s kind of my default goto choice (although it doesn’t work with goto but sky safari does haha...)

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On 06/08/2018 at 22:28, Alex_o0 said:

I just looked into sky safari and boy was I wrong it offers a lot more than the apps I’m using. This post has opened my eyes :)

Agreed! I was using Star walk before and very nearly spent £10er to get the full version, Glad i didn't Sky safari is by far the best I've used and free! Nice one

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Just downloaded sky safari 5 and had a play, looks very good for free and will give it a try when I'm out observing next

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SkySafari Plus  for me.

I went a bit techno mad and added the SW WiFi adapter to the AZ-EQ5GT, and use the Synscan Pro on a mobile alongside SkySafari and it makes for a really great combination. You can use all the detail you  get in SkySafari and then just tell it to point to what you are interested in and away it goes communicating with the mount via Synscan. Setting up observing lists ahead of time is easy as well. I have lists of double stars in a few constellations set up for example, and of course all the normal lists (Messier etc.) are already there. It shows you them on screen, so you can see what is close, check out the detailed info on it and then away you go (to). I am really impressed. Might invest in a cheapish tablet to make it easier to see on screen

Of course we are talking about a mobile phone here, and a GoTo mount. So does everything always work? Heck, no. Some frustration comes  as part of the package as well. 

Moving the scope manually you can see on screen exactly where it is pointing in the sky in real time. Which is fun. And helpful , since I do fair bit of manual moving, as the mount seems really quite loud when slewing at 1 am....?

And SkySafari Plus cost all of £5.99. Astonishing value, I think.

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