Double Stars Application
Posted 10 November 2012 - 02:46 PM
I would like to inform you of an app I have recently created for the Apple AppStore. It is called SkyGems and it is about Double Star Observing.
It has a database of about 1300 double stars and allows filtering based on:
- primary color
- designations (Bayer, Flamsteed, Struve, Variable)
The application displays results as either text lists or graphic depictions.
Detailed information is given for each couple.
If you shake your device while viewing a specific double star the field changes North-South East-West directions to allow for use or not of star diagonals.
I hope that you will find this app useful for your double star observing!
This is the link for the app ($0.99)
For more screenshots and information please visit:
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or suggestions for improving the program!
Posted 12 November 2012 - 08:11 PM
Could there be plans for a DROID app in the foreseeable future?
Posted 13 November 2012 - 05:05 AM
Well, I have been asked the same question many times. It is a good idea to implement it in different platforms although it requires a lot of work!
Posted 14 November 2012 - 07:36 AM
A great app. Here are some issues I had and some suggestions:
1. Apple designates it as an iPhone/iPod app only. Not having worked with iTunes that much yet, it took me a while to figure out how to install it on my iPad. I found the 2x button on the lower right which nicely expanded the display for the iPad.
2. I initially had issues trying to get any stars to be picked up. I assumed (obviously incorrectly) that the magnitude range showing in the display applied to both the primary and secondary range. It was not initially obvious to me that the brightest magnitude started at -2. I finally saw in the "Settings Table" that magnitudes started at -2 and realized that the mag slider adjusted the values from there to the dimmer side on each individual star type. Once I fixed that, stars popped out.
3. Is there a possibility of showing the spectral class of the stars when displaying the detailed stars description?
4. What do you use to determine what colors to display for the stars? I noticed that Albireo shows both stars as white.
5. Is there any thought of having an option to displaying in the constellation list only constellations currently visible? I realize that this would very much complicate the programming.
Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:22 AM
Thank you for your suggestions. User feedback is always of great help for improving software.
1. This app was made for iPhone and iPod Touch but you can run on iPad nearly all applications, or apps, designed for iPhone and iPod touch.
2. Indeed, magnitudes start at -2 and you can adjust the lower magnitude limit for both the primary and secondary using the two sliders. I thought that it would not be good to put too many labels to indicate minimum and maximum magnitudes since I provided the summary table. However, I will take into account your comment for future updates.
3. I have already provided the spectral class for both the primary and secondary (when available). When in the detailed view double tap to get spectral and other information for each pair.
4. I have used the Washington Double Star Catalog. When I was making the program I also noticed that Albireo had no spectral information! I decided to use information from this catalog alone.
5. In order to provide visible stars more calculations are required. I am planning this for an update.
I hope that the SkyGems app will make your double star observations more enjoyable.
Posted 16 November 2012 - 07:37 AM
1. You might want to put that "double tap" feature to get to more detail on the stars in the "Help" info. I was not aware of it and it is great.
2. When the iPad times out or I swipe to another app, all the settings on the Sky Gems app are reset and I have to re-enter them to pick up where I was. Is there some way of retaining the settings when the iPad (and I assume iPhone) times out or you switch to another app?
Posted 16 November 2012 - 10:58 AM
You can also use swipes to move between "Star Panels" if there are more than 6 stars in your results.
Retaining the settings requires modifications that can be done in an update.