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ALTitude AZimuth ALIGNment for iDevices

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#1 kustard

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 01:04 AM

Hi all,

Just to give you a heads up, I have released on the app store a useful utility for those of you with a computerised Go-To scope/mount (and even those with other styles of mounts may find it a handy tool) called "ALT AZ ALIGN".

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It can be found here: App Store

The purpose of the application is to help identify the best two stars in the sky at the current time and location to use for your two-star alignment feature. It includes 60 or so of the brightest stars in the night sky which the majority of these stars should be available in your mount. The app presents you with a list of "Star Sets" which you can scroll through to select the best one for your system.

The app calculates the list for those "Star Sets" which have the smallest angle to the Zenith 'z'. The list also shows you the Separation angle 's' which you can use as well in selecting which set is the best, the bigger the Separation angle the better. Stars that are too low in the sky or too close to the Zenith are discarded as these can affect alignment accuracy.

You can let your location be determined by your iDevice automatically or you can enter in your location via the settings screen.

NOTE: There is a small issue with some iDevices locking up on the "Acquiring Location" screen at start up due to the location services not being detected correctly. If this occurs, please make sure you have the location services turned on for both the app and system wide on your iDevice. This issue will be addressed in the next update.

You can zoom in and scroll about by double-tapping/triple-tapping (especially useful on the iPhone as the display can look cluttered) and you can turn on or off many display features that you deem unnecessary.

The standard mode is a red night time view (to prevent your night vision from being affected) but there are also three other colour modes (white, green, blue) for you to play around with.

Anyway, check it out on the app store and see if it would be useful to you. I use it with my Celestron CPC scope and have also tested it with a servo-cat/argo-navis system and it works well. If you have an EQ type mount then you can maybe set the latitude to +90 or -90 which might help you in locating alignment type stars.

Cheers and clear skies,
Simon (sibimon.net)

#2 kustard

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Posted 08 June 2011 - 02:00 AM

Just a quick note to say that I've submitted an update (V1.0.1) to the Apple Store today that rectifies the issue with the device locking up. Hopefully it wont take long for the update to be accepted.

Cheers,
Simon

#3 kustard

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Posted 19 June 2011 - 11:39 PM

Just a heads up to inform you that I've submitted an update (V1.0.2) to the Apple Store.

The update fixes a few bugs and add some new features such as picking a location by Country & City, selectable star catalog (Celestron 40, Meade 33 or All 65). I've also improved the scrolling feature when zoomed and increased font sizes along with finger scrolling of star lists instead of using the buttons.

The update should be approved within 7 days.

Thanks and cheers,
Simon

#4 kustard

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 04:31 PM

Hi all,

Update V1.0.3 of AltAzAlign should now be available on the app store.

This update improves the 'Star Set' calculations, adjustable horizon for each quadrant, presents a better 'Settings' screen and a much clearer and easier to read 'Help Screen'. There are also a few other small improvements and bug fixes which you can read about on iTunes.

Thanks and cheers,
Simon

#5 kustard

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 03:07 AM

Hi All,

I couldn't help myself and have updated the app to 1.0.4.

You can now view solar system objects (sun, moon, planets except Pluto), adjust the time in steps of 5 minute up to 24 hours by dragging across the screen when in User Time mode, and touching on an object will bring up an information window (a bit hard on the iPhone due to screen size but you can zoom in and do it).

I also made a change to the Julian Date calculations in order to help improve precession accuracy.

Thanks and Cheers,
Simon

#6 kustard

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 12:16 AM

FYI:

Update 1.0.5

It should now be easier to select objects on the screen as I've increased the touch area for them. Also, the data block window will stay on until the user taps them.

Cheers,
Simon

#7 kustard

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 05:55 AM

FYI:

Update 1.0.6

Fixed an issue with the data block and also corrected a couple of incorrect star coordinates.

Also, I've had a report of a problem with the app on an iPhone 3G. The user says that the star list area does not scroll for him. I have a 3G test unit and whilst the app runs quite slowly and responds slowly to touch it does work on my unit. If anyone has an older 3G and is using my app I would like to hear any comments you may have about the app.

Cheers,
Simon

#8 Ira

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 10:49 PM

Why can't I find this app when I search the app store from my iPhone?

/Ira

#9 kustard

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 12:29 AM

Why can't I find this app when I search the app store from my iPhone?

/Ira


Hi Ira, if you can't find it try searching for "sibimon". That is my app store name and the app is listed under that.

Cheers,
Simon

#10 mmclure

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 05:19 PM

Any chance of adding the Orion Intelliscope star set as an option?

#11 Ira

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 09:04 AM

Why can't I find this app when I search the app store from my iPhone?

/Ira


Hi Ira, if you can't find it try searching for "sibimon". That is my app store name and the app is listed under that.

Cheers,
Simon


Found it. You should look into why it won't show up under the app name in the iPhone store from the iPhone. Shows up from iTunes on a Mac.

/Ira

#12 kustard

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 02:19 AM

Searching for "Alt Az Align" will not find it, the actual name of the app is "Altitude Azimuth Alignment" so searching for say "altitude az" will bring it up quickly. This long name gets shortened to "Alt Az Align" so that the name fits nicely on the screen.

Sorry for any confusion.

Cheers,
Simon

#13 Ain Soph Aur

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 01:57 PM

Hi Simon,

Please consider expanding the Horizon Calc Settings from the current 4 quadrants to 8 octants? With my tree challenged back yard, having 8 directions to configure would be make this app extremely more valuable. Thanks!

#14 kustard

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 05:25 PM

Sorry for the delay in response, been on holidays :)

I'm currently working on a new revision that will be a lot more informative. As part of it I'll be adding more catalogs for other scopes, increasing the number of viewable stars, and I'll also look at adding an option for 8 horizon settings. I'm also going to add some new features depending on time.

Thanks to all who are using the app and keep the suggestions coming.

Cheers,
Simon

#15 kustard

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 11:45 PM

App update submitted and website retooled.

Update 1.0.7
* Added 3 new catalogues as per user requests and as a result the number of bright stars increased from 65 to 87.
* Check out the app website for more information - http://www.sibimon.net

The update is currently waiting for review so I expect it to go live before next weekend.

Cheers,
Simon

#16 kustard

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 04:33 PM

Update released.

Update 1.0.8
* Updated images for new iPad, the app should run on new iPad with no issues.

* Increased information area on the iPhone to make it easier to read.

* Changed Solar System objects to circles to make them easier to see when compared to stars.

* Extra stars added (109 in total).

2 new controller catalogs added:
-> Nexus - 91 stars.
-> Argo Navis - 35 stars.

If you have a SynScan Controller, you can use either one of these new catalogs. I will be adding a new SynScan catalog in the near future.

Cheers,
Simon

#17 Denimsky

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 07:26 PM

Hi Simon.

Do you have any plan to support three star alignments?

#18 kustard

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 12:56 AM

Hi Simon.

Do you have any plan to support three star alignments?


Heya,

At the moment I'm not. The only controller I have handy that has a 3 star alignment procedure is my C9.25 CPC and to be honest I only once used the 3 star procedure. From my understanding the third star is more of a confirmation star than anything else. If this is not the case (especially with other types of controllers) then I'd have to get the algorithms on how the alignment works.

I'm not dismissing the idea but it might take some time to implement. I've put it on my things to do list for the app in the future. If anyone using AltAzAlign is able to provide descriptions on how these alignments work I'd certainly look into them.

Thanks,
Simon

#19 kustard

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 11:11 PM

Hi all,

A big thanks to everyone who has purchased and is using the Alt Az Align app, hopefully it is giving you good alignment.

Just a quick update, I've been on a bit of a break with app stuff so I have decided to reduce the price of the app down to the lowest possible price tier (99c for the USA). I have some updates to add to it and will hopefully put some time into them in the near future.

Don't forget to grab Sky Harbinger, it's free :)

Cheers,
Simon

#20 A. Viegas

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 06:31 PM

Hi Simon,

I really like SkyHarbinger so I just bought your Alt-Az alignment app to try out. I definately see how it will be useful for my CPC1100, but i was wondering for an equatorial... perhaps a feature could be added that gives us the best two stars to align on the western side of the Meridian and then gives the best set of calibration stars on the other side, in order of alignment?? that way your app would cover both alt-az and GEM mounts? I'd happily pay a couple of $ for a version upgrade that does that...

Thanks

Al

#21 Adam C

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 07:19 PM

Hi Simon, any chance of porting this to Android?

Adam
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Telescope: GSO 8" f/5 newtonian reflector
Mount: Skywatcher AZ-EQ6GT
Eyepieces: Andrews 4mm, 12.5mm and 20mm and Andrews 2x barlow
Camera: Nikon D90 DSLR
Binoculars: Zhumell Tachyon 25 x 1000's

#22 tezster

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 07:36 AM

Hi Simon, any chance of porting this to Android?


I would be interested in this, as well.

#23 kustard

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 01:45 AM

Hi guys,

Unfortunately due to time constraints I've had to put off a lot of my programming stuff for a while (thus no updates to be seen for both Alt Az Align and SkyHarbinger).

Cheers,
Simon

#24 kustard

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 05:24 PM

Just another heads up, Alt Az Align is very buggy in iOS7. SkyHarbinger is working fine though.

Cheers,
Simon

#25 Víctor Martínez

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Posted 26 November 2013 - 09:45 AM

Hi Simon, any chance of porting this to Android?


I would be interested in this, as well.


+1






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