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New app Double Stars for scope and binocs

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#1 mcgibbon

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 12:46 PM

I am posting to inform you all of a new astronomy App called Double Stars. It is for iPhone and is found on the Apple AppStore here:

http://itunes.apple....d515272752?mt=8

I made the app with a friend. We are not a company looking to make millions - we are amateur astronomers and we make apps in our spare time. We think we have a great observing tool we’d like to share.

The App provides a catalogue of hundreds of northern and southern hemisphere Double Stars that can be filtered by your location, date, time and your equipment - for both binoculars and telescopes. It even has naked eye doubles suitable for rural or urban observers. Rather than find Double Stars from a book or chart let the App create a unique list just for you based on what you can see.

Once you have filtered the catalogue to your location and equipment, Double Stars can be added to a Sky Tour. The conventional Double Star data is fully loaded (Magnitudes, Separation, Positive Angle etc).

The App also generates Smart Tours (think iTunes Smart playlists) for wide pairs, tight doubles, colour doubles etc - all based on what you can theoretically see tonight. The App helps you locate each Double Star with RA & Dec as well as interactive Alt Azimuth coordinates.

Furthermore, based on the information entered about your scope it will even suggest an eyepiece to give you the best chance of splitting each Double Star.

The Sky Tour is viewed using a variable red ‘night vision’ mode that we previous trialled successfully on one of our other apps (‘Night Notes’). A Location Assistant helps locate the star using its live position if you don’t have a computerised mount. Try strapping your iPhone to your scope (with an iPhone running armband) to create a low cost GoTo finder!

We carried out extensive testing over Winter some willing volunteers. Their input has been invaluable and the app is now greatly improved thanks to their help. We think this will be a great App for amateur Double Star fans to plan and execute successful observations.

Finally, if you like it, please leave a review on the AppStore and then tell your friends! Happy splitting!

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#2 azure1961p

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 09:08 PM

I was all set to think "yeah but I got Sky Safari so I dont need this..."

Im wrong. This is an excellent app. Well conceived and executed. Id prefer if the filter let me filter out all doubles beliw or above a given seperation but its dynamite regradless. Ya got my buck!

Pete

#3 azure1961p

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 09:24 PM

Folks - lol - this program rocks!!!! Apparently the app already siftes through wide and tight pairs for you. Enter in your scope info abd it recommends an ocular I kid you not. Do the tour thing and its got this nice red color of the fonts and such kinda matches my GOTO hand control glow. That every double is illustrated in accompanying diagram is wild. Worth far more than the buck they r charging. Ida payed $10.00.

This is THE doublestar observers app and NO Sky Safari isnt doing what this app does.

Lol please get it!

Pete

#4 Aleko

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 01:53 PM

I used this app at the telescope last night. With the full moon out, it was the perfect night for doubles. I really like the information the app provides and how it is laid out. It would be nice though to have the colors (spectral classes) of the component stars.

I used this side by side with Sky Safari, since with SS I can go straight to a map to locate the star. And for many of the doubles, you can't beat SS having Jim Kaler's marvelous descriptions.

So I don't see this (yet) replacing Sky Safari, but it is an excellent complement to go along with it. The app is certainly a worthy addition to my collection of astronomy apps and worth more than the nominal charge.

#5 Tristy

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 02:53 PM

I have to be out of iTunes cash right now....

Can't wait to try this out when the opportunity arrives! :jump:

#6 mcgibbon

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 02:58 PM

Aw shucks you guys. I'm blushing.
I so pleased you all love the app. We took a lot of time and effort, and Richard (who does the programming) put his heart into it.
I'd be massively greatful if you can leave a review on the AppStore.
Keep on splitting!

#7 PGW Steve

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 03:59 PM

Downloaded it, can't wait to try it!

#8 Denimsky

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 04:47 PM

It seems a great App.
I'm glad that many great astronomy Apps are coming out recently!
I will give it a try for the next observing session.

#9 Denimsky

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 05:30 PM

I just downloaded the App and this is exactly what I've been looking for.

Because this App can't slew the telescope, it would be nice to have someway to connect with SkySafari. How about a feature to generate an observing list for SkySafari? If it is not easy, how about a button to copy the name of the star to the clipboard so that we can paste the name to the search forms in other apps?
And I cannot find some names of binaries used by double stars in SkySafari such as Nu A-B Sco. I'm not sure but is there more common name for such a star?

At last iPad version would be a welcome addition.

Thank you for the great App.

#10 7331Peg

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 11:31 PM

I downloaded the app to an Ipad and have a couple of questions:

1. When I press the star on the right side of a catalog entry above "colour", it turns orange, but nothing else happens. Am I missing something there?

2. Why is "multiple" shown below "colour" -- it looks like every star in the catalog shows that, but pressing it does absolutely nothing.

And one more: what does the oval to the left of the binocular icon signify? I've seen that lit up to orange on a couple of the entries for no apparent reason.


John :refractor:

#11 Denimsky

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 11:55 PM

I downloaded the app to an Ipad and have a couple of questions:

1. When I press the star on the right side of a catalog entry above "colour", it turns orange, but nothing else happens. Am I missing something there?

2. Why is "multiple" shown below "colour" -- it looks like every star in the catalog shows that, but pressing it does absolutely nothing.

And one more: what does the oval to the left of the binocular icon signify? I've seen that lit up to orange on a couple of the entries for no apparent reason.


John :refractor:


I think that the binary will be added to favorites in the smart tours when you click the star icon.

If the binary is known for colour contrast, the text 'colour' shows in orange colour. Otherwise, the text is grey.

If the binary is multiple system (like double double), the text 'multiple' is shown in orange. Otherwise it is just grey.

I guess the oval is for naked eye doubles.

I just love this App. It is very simple and useful. The approach is very different from traditional desktop app and feels very fresh.

#12 azure1961p

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 12:32 AM

Safari is superb. These programs work fine in tandem though. I would agre about the spectral color suggestion. Im enamored.

Pete

#13 7331Peg

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 12:52 AM

I downloaded the app to an Ipad and have a couple of questions:

1. When I press the star on the right side of a catalog entry above "colour", it turns orange, but nothing else happens. Am I missing something there?

2. Why is "multiple" shown below "colour" -- it looks like every star in the catalog shows that, but pressing it does absolutely nothing.

And one more: what does the oval to the left of the binocular icon signify? I've seen that lit up to orange on a couple of the entries for no apparent reason.


John :refractor:


I think that the binary will be added to favorites in the smart tours when you click the star icon.

If the binary is known for colour contrast, the text 'colour' shows in orange colour. Otherwise, the text is grey.

If the binary is multiple system (like double double), the text 'multiple' is shown in orange. Otherwise it is just grey.

I guess the oval is for naked eye doubles.

I just love this App. It is very simple and useful. The approach is very different from traditional desktop app and feels very fresh.


Thanks, Denimsky. I just played around with it some more, and all of that checks out perfectly.

Hope you're getting better cooperation from the weather than we've had down this way the past several months.


John :refractor:

#14 mcgibbon

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 03:41 AM

Denimsky - you're 100% correct. The icons in the catalogue screen signify the stars properties, either colour or part of a multiple system. Orange for Yes, grey for No. These indeed relate the the Smart Tours. The three other symbols- eye, binoc, scope relate to the filters you have entered.

Have you noticed that the symbol for PA is generated for each star based in its magnitudes and positive angle? Richard was VERY happy with that one!

#15 mcgibbon

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 05:44 AM

In terms of naming, stars like Nu A-B Sco is simply Nu Sco but specifically for the A-B components of that multiple system. I expect all the entries for Nu Sco have the same RA and Dec.

#16 Denimsky

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 10:54 AM

Have you noticed that the symbol for PA is generated for each star based in its magnitudes and positive angle? Richard was VERY happy with that one!


Does the angle change depending on the type of the telescope that you use in the filter?

#17 gmartin02

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 11:38 AM

Any chance of porting this app to the Android OS? It sounds really useful, but I do not have an iPhone.

Note: The Android platform now has over 50% of the US market share and climbing fast. The iOS platform is leveling off at about 30% of the US market share.

Source: http://www.engadget....-mobile-report/

Greg

#18 mcgibbon

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 02:12 PM

Deminsky - no, the angle doesn't change.

#19 mcgibbon

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 02:12 PM

Sorry Greg, no plans for android.

#20 btschumy

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 02:53 PM

At least for me, the Smart Tour for "Wide Easy Pairs" is the same as for "Tough Split Pairs". That doesn't seem right.

I'm on a Gen 3 iPad running iOS 5.1

#21 Ain Soph Aur

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 04:04 PM

Very nice application! It my my second favorite iOS app after SkySafari Pro. I would like to see a HD version, and if the AL Double Star and Binocular Double Star Club lists could be added as smart tours, well that would be awesome. Thanks!

#22 mcgibbon

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 04:51 PM

At least for me, the Smart Tour for "Wide Easy Pairs" is the same as for "Tough Split Pairs". That doesn't seem right.

I'm on a Gen 3 iPad running iOS 5.1


That doesn't seem right. All I can think is that the filters you have entered have returned a very small set of results so the tours are the same??
Have you entered your filter values correctly?

Have a play. You can always send a screen shot (hold down home and lock buttons) to the feedback email on the app.

#23 Chucky

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 07:04 AM

Seems very nice. Unfortunately since I have a 2nd gen Touch, I can't use the program. Man I'd like to see Sky Safari enhanced to have some of these features....especially the ability to input one's scope parameters to filter doubles able to be split with a given telescope.

#24 Jim Curry

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 09:10 PM

Sounds like a great app. How about a Blackberry app?

Jim

#25 mcgibbon

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 03:20 PM

Again, sorry Jim, no plans for Blackberry - we'd never get time to observe!






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