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SOFTWARE TOOLS to take (!) going out

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#1 Vita

Vita

    Vendor (StarWalk Software)

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 04:06 AM

A lot of guys who goes out with telescope, take their laptopes to have sufficient info about all we're finding in the sky. Star maps are pretty different and there are some useful programs that ease finding any object (especially for amateurs). I apply to discuss programs you know in this field - their advantages and disadvantages. And what else can we wait from them?

Also now some people have smartphones with astronomic applications - that's a help too. They need very little space and much lighter then laptops. So...
I've just started with all this stuff, cos I'm in development of this kind of applications (we develop for iPhone - our product is StarWalk) - thus I'll be pleased to get some feedback from guys who would like to try it. That's why you opinion about things needed in this programs is so interesting for me.

I hope anyway this topic will occur useful for all community!)
For laptop I can recommend you stellarium (I've tried it).
And also you may check out an article about other tools here: http://news.cnet.com....Button#addcomm

Good luck with cloudless sky!)))

PS. who've seen perseids today?
if you wanna video - this one is not too bad: http://www.youtube.c...h?v=3AlsWtOp844

#2 ebusinesstutor

ebusinesstutor

    Apollo

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  • Joined: 01 Jul 2009

Posted 31 August 2009 - 10:42 PM

Hi Vita,

I have an iPhone and I use several astronomy applications on it, including StarWalk.

In my non-hobby life I am a professional Internet marketer and speaker who has developed several online tools for Internet marketing, so I have a good grasp of how to determine people's needs and develop tools to meet their needs.

To help you, here are my ideas about what kinds of astronomy needs are on the iPhone. While my Internet marketing knowledge and experience is extensive, my stargazing knowledge is in the beginning stage, so my ideas are from the point of view of the beginner, not from an experienced astronomer.

Existing iPhone Apps Review
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Star Walk:
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I don't have any other iPhone star map software to compare to. I would like a way to turn off the constellation art and see just the lines to show the constellations. I like the red light option and the way it remembers it the next time it comes on. When you search though, the on screen keyboard for typing comes up in white and black which makes it too bright. Not sure if you can do anything about that.

Overall an excellent program.

MoonPhase
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Simple program that shows the phase of the moon plus the moonrise and setting times and optionally sunrise and sun set. Useful for quickly determining if you can see the moon or finding out when the new moon is if you prefer to chase deep space objects.

Well executed and good for what it is. No red light option which is a minus.

Clear Sky Chart
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Excellent free program that gives me an idea of what my viewing will be like tonight. Used VERY frequently. Great application.

Moon Atlas
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Probably my favorite iPhone astronomy application.

Extensive moon atlas that lets me change to mirror image when I look through my refractor. I can zoom in to see what I am viewing - very easy to use and find what I am looking at with great detail. I use it constantly while viewing the moon.

A few slight drawbacks:
1. The bottom row of buttons on it are not red in red light mode
2. When you click on the settings button, they don't come up in red light mode.
3. A moon splash screen comes up before the actual map and the splash screen is not in red light mode.

Suggested new iPhone Apps
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Starhopping Help
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While the planetarium software like StarWalk is great, some of us beginners need even a little more help. The book Turn Right at Orion gives step by step instructions on how to find each object and shows us how it would look through a small telescope. This would make an excellent application. Perhaps you could even add an option where we could enter our telescope aperture, focal length and eyepiece size and the software would adjust to show it to you as you should see it. The maps on NightWatch are another good example.

Sky Tours
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Similar to options offered by GoTo telscopes. Give a suggested list of targets based upon their time and location. I notice that Starmap for iPhone offers this - perhaps you can add it to StarWalk.

Lists and Logs
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Software that lets people work their way through lists like the Messier, Herschel or Lunar 100 and log their observations.

When developing, give EVERYTHING a red light option - settings, menus, splash screens, about page, etc. and let us set that to a default if we prefer. We don't want others at dark observing sites yelling at us when we use our iPhone apps.

Hope this helps!






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