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Review of SkySafari v3.1.1 for the Apple iPad

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#1 Olivier Biot

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 06:06 AM

Review of SkySafari v3.1.1 for the Apple iPad

By Tim Nunes.

#2 RonUwood

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 09:55 AM

I recently bought a 4g Ipad and the first app I purchased was SkySafari Plus. I have an 8SE and although I don't yet have the cables to hook it to the Ipad I found SkySafari to be very useful. Last night as I guided the scope around to different objects, my wife slewed the Ipad to the same objects and read the excellent descriptions as we observed. I especially like the ability to create your own observing lists.

Ron

#3 Mogster

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 11:35 AM

Using Sky Safari with the scope makes observing so much fun. I have the cable rather than WIFI, the touch screen makes the IPAD into a hi-tech hand control for your scope. Setup time was almost 0. Only thing to do was select Celestron CPC from the drop down box.

Moon HD is another great app for the IPAD.

#4 Mauro Da Lio

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 12:48 PM

I use it regularly. One trick is the following: got to Settings -> Telescope -> Display and set the fields of view of finder, and the rigel quick finder (in my case 5°, 2° and 0.5°). The set "show even if not connected to the telescope".

With such settings you see the field of views of finder and rigel while panning and zooming. You can thus point a nearby star with the rigle, and then march in the finder to the object. With 15 millions stars yo may even continue at the eyepiece to locate precisely the dimmest objects.

BTW I have also StarmapPro, but the variety of DSO is richer in Skysafari.

#5 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 01:39 PM

Sky Safari ROCKS! Tim is also wonderful when it comes to service!

#6 Darren Bly

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 02:06 PM

Sky Safari ROCKS! Tim is also wonderful when it comes to service!


I agree my friend. :cool:

#7 tugrul

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 05:16 PM

I grabbed a free copy when they had the promotion and while I haven't tried anything else on the iPad, I don't feel the need.

They added satellites in 3.2, even showing the changing brightness as they enter the Earth's shadow, which is sweet. Just wish they plotted the trajectories like in stellarium for the flybys around the time it's showing.

I also didn't know that it renders the current face of Mars, making it easier to plan when to observe.

Not enough stars in the base version IMHO, but I'll upgrade to the Plus version when I get my own pad.

#8 calibos

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 05:28 PM

I recently bought a 4g Ipad and the first app I purchased was SkySafari Plus. I have an 8SE and although I don't yet have the cables to hook it to the Ipad I found SkySafari to be very useful. Last night as I guided the scope around to different objects, my wife slewed the Ipad to the same objects and read the excellent descriptions as we observed. I especially like the ability to create your own observing lists.

Ron


If your wife isn't available to read the object descriptions while you look through the eyepiece, you just need to go into the iphone settings, general, accessibility and turn on the 'Speak Selection' option. Then from now on in Sky Safari, you just press and hold on the text to select the text you want read (blue box appears around text which can be dragged to encompass the text you want read) tap the 'Speak' half of the 'copy/speak' button that appears and sit back and relax to the dulcet tones of your iPad reading out the text.

#9 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 06:08 PM

Sky Safari ROCKS! Tim is also wonderful when it comes to service!


I agree my friend. :cool:


Grand masta Bly. Yes, it's the simplicity of the program. It isn't overly cluttered with too many features and it's intuitive. :D

#10 RonUwood

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 06:49 PM

I recently bought a 4g Ipad and the first app I purchased was SkySafari Plus. I have an 8SE and although I don't yet have the cables to hook it to the Ipad I found SkySafari to be very useful. Last night as I guided the scope around to different objects, my wife slewed the Ipad to the same objects and read the excellent descriptions as we observed. I especially like the ability to create your own observing lists.

Ron


If your wife isn't available to read the object descriptions while you look through the eyepiece, you just need to go into the iphone settings, general, accessibility and turn on the 'Speak Selection' option. Then from now on in Sky Safari, you just press and hold on the text to select the text you want read (blue box appears around text which can be dragged to encompass the text you want read) tap the 'Speak' half of the 'copy/speak' button that appears and sit back and relax to the dulcet tones of your iPad reading out the text.


WOW ! I actually got that to work, and my wife is soooo happy :jump:

Thanks for the heads up !

Ron

#11 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 07:55 PM

After giving it more thought, I have determined that if Tim can eventually get Sky Safari to talk with headphones, it will be the best invention since the wheel. Instead of the observing reading the info on the object, Sky Safari reads the info to the observer while viewing. That would be a killer! No other program offers such wonderfully detailed information.

#12 Paul Muller

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 10:55 AM

I've been using SkySafari 3 Pro and also really enjoy it. The combination of the compass/gyro control as you look around the sky, lists of what is best to look at during the current night or week, and interface with GOTO is awesome. I cross reference a lot of objects with it and have thoroughly enjoyed all the information it provides.

#13 Dan Finnerty

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 09:12 PM

So when is the PC version coming out :(

I would feel so left out if I did not have a new ipad. With the skywire connection, it is wonderful for observing around the telescope. No wires to trip over. To be able to search for interesting objects, tap goto and read up on them while the telescope is grinding its way to the new wonder is - well, a wonder! I can hand the ipad to people so they can read up on the object of interest while waiting for their turn to observe. The details are very thorough it is like having an astronomy text book wrapped up in a star chart wrapped up in a telescope controller.

I just need to figure how to connect via my home wireless vs. the ad hoc skyfi network so I can surf the internet for additional information and I will be totally spoiled.

#14 Sloan

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 11:05 PM

I have as Celestron Nexstar SE8. I am using SkyFi 2.3.1 and SkySafari 3.2.
I made a custom cable to connect the SkyFi with the SE mount on the cheap. I bought a 7' coiled phone handset cable with 4 wires, put a RJ11 with wires flipped on one end and had the electronic store crimp it on for me all for $19. I run the SE mount off the 12v and the SkyFi off the 6v outputs of the Celestron power tank. Bought a 6 'DC to DC male cable for the SkyFi here http://www.amazon.co...60_cs_sce_dp_1. Did some testing at the Texas Star Party. You need a good signal strength for the SkyFi to connect as a client. It does connects quickly as a client. If the signal strength is not enough it shows up as still ad hoc signal. Make sure to have fresh batteries in the SE mount or running of the power tank or it will run erratic from the commands from Skysafari. I believe the cable I made will work for CGE,
CPC, SLT, SE mounts. You can buy ready made cables at http://carbon12astro.com/wordpress/

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#15 CorneliusFumble

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 09:15 AM

I have used SkySafari Plus for several months now on my iPhone and it is a stellar program (pun intended). The most key feature for me is the time function. With this you are able to skip forward (and back) and determine what will be visible for your next observing session. This is especially great with the planets. Zoomed in, the planets are nicely rendered and show what surface features will be visible and the location of the moons. This is great if you want to catch the Jupiter's great red spot, or Io's shadow transiting the planet's surface. I've also used this to watch the change of Venus's phase over the next coming months and the apparent size change (size, magnitude, and distances are all at your fingertips). It's also helpful for going back and filling in data in your logs (like Alt./Az. or Dec./R.A. for objects at the time you viewed them the night before).

At outreach sessions, guests frequently ask how far away the object is they are looking at. Now I can't give them an accurate answer and fill them in with other details about the object and show them hubble quality images to go along with many of them.

Another great thing about this program is how customizable the settings allow it to be. Don't care about objects too faint for your eyes to see? You can set the program to only show objects of magnitude 6 and brighter. Density of labels (and what is and isn't labeled) can be changed. Ecliptic and Meridian can be turned on/off to easily locate planets and when they'll be at their highest. Constellations can be shown with mythical figures, traditional or modern lines, or even as just IAU boundaries. These are just some of the features of this app.

It also has a night view setting (dark red) for keeping your night vision. Additionally, from within the program (at least with version 3.2) you can control screen brightness and turn off your phone's auto lock so you don't have that bright swipe screen to worry about. (I also turn my general screen brightness down as far as it goes so as not to blind anyone who is dark adapted if I accidentally exit the app.)

Haven't got the cable to control my telescope with it yet, but the possibility of doing that in the future is just another reason why this app will continue to by my "goto" (again, pun intended). ;)

#16 Mbwun

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 11:11 AM

I too purchased this for my Android tablet and Phone and it works wonderfully. I no longer bring my laptop with Starry Night Pro. Starry Night is great features but always seem to use too many resources on my machine.

#17 Bob_Stan

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 02:26 PM

If you don't have an iPad but do have an iPhone, the iPhone version works just as well, and for me, is a lot more convenient in the field.

#18 munchmeister

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 12:09 PM

I've been intrigued by these i-whatever programs as I get back into astronomy. If I understand correctly, if I have SkySafari on my iPod Touch, running Sky Safari (which I have) I could connect that with the SkiFi to, say, a Celestron NexStar SLT computerized mount (which I don't have but am considering for my new Orion 120mm f/5) and use the iPhone/ SS combo to do my touring of the night sky? And have at my touch, all of the wonderful facts and information about the object I and my guests are looking at?!?! The NexStar paddle is great, but a two line LCD display leaves a lot to be desired, especially compared to an iPod Touch, or better yet, an iPad.

Is that how it all works?!

#19 J_D_Metzger

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 11:04 AM

I've been intrigued by these i-whatever programs as I get back into astronomy. If I understand correctly, if I have SkySafari on my iPod Touch, running Sky Safari (which I have) I could connect that with the SkiFi to, say, a Celestron NexStar SLT computerized mount (which I don't have but am considering for my new Orion 120mm f/5) and use the iPhone/ SS combo to do my touring of the night sky? And have at my touch, all of the wonderful facts and information about the object I and my guests are looking at?!?! The NexStar paddle is great, but a two line LCD display leaves a lot to be desired, especially compared to an iPod Touch, or better yet, an iPad.

Is that how it all works?!


Yep.

#20 mountain monk

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 10:28 PM

I'm playing with SkySafari on a new IPad and, well...awesome, downright awesome. Soon Siri will be on an iPad...perhaps a year? As an old man with arthritic fingers, dear iPhone Siri is rapidly becoming my best friend. Hummm... I'll just lie in my sleeping bag and talk to her and she'll move my 20"Teeter (I wish!) around, select targets, provide technical commentary, read Burnham and French and Serviss to me...

Thanks for the review. It's an amazing time to be an astronomer.

Dark skies.

Jack Turner

#21 turtle86

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 07:23 PM

I'm playing with SkySafari on a new IPad and, well...awesome, downright awesome. Soon Siri will be on an iPad...perhaps a year? As an old man with arthritic fingers, dear iPhone Siri is rapidly becoming my best friend. Hummm... I'll just lie in my sleeping bag and talk to her and she'll move my 20"Teeter (I wish!) around, select targets, provide technical commentary, read Burnham and French and Serviss to me...

Thanks for the review. It's an amazing time to be an astronomer.

Dark skies.

Jack Turner


+1 Awesome it is! Right now I just have it on my iPhone. Bet it's spectacular on an iPad or Mac.

#22 mountain monk

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 09:24 PM

Yes, I have it on a 24" iMac and it is indeed addicting. It's hard to explain all the factors that make it so compelling, but right at the top is beauty.

Dark skies.

Jack






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