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Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now!

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#26 johnpd

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 04:16 AM

There's an update for all Pro users today. The app now contains an improved map, a special 'my data' screen showing all your measurements, and advanced calibration setting for higher SQM values.


Thanks Norbert,

As soon as we can get rid of that bright white thing currently in the night sky (alias the Moon), I will give it a run.

JohnD

#27 Nop

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 02:38 PM

@nevy, the app doesn't show up if you don't have an iPhone 4, 4S or 5. Is that the case?
@jörgen, @Mark, we are currently testing the iPad Mini and Ipad 3 and 4. The results are not accurate enough yet. Hope we find a solution.
Regards
Norbert

#28 Joe Bergeron

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 12:21 AM

Even though I have an iPhone 4 at the moment, with its sadly inadequate camera, I went ahead and bought your app. I tried it tonight, thinking that despite that embarrassingly lame camera, the bright moonlight would illuminate the sky enough for me to get a valid reading. I tried it three times, but each time was rewarded with the message "Invalid-Try again." I hope my eventual upgrade to a newer iPhone will fix this.

#29 Nop

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 01:37 AM

@Joe
On the 4:
The invalid try again appears often when the camera is not covered enough. It should read some difference between dark (1) and light (2).
Regards
Norbert

#30 A. Viegas

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 07:25 AM

I also have an iphone4. Got the same error, what do you mean " not covered enough". Don't I just point the outward facing camera straight up? How do I cover the camera??

Al

#31 Nop

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 10:25 AM

You can cover the camera with your finger, or in a pocket for example. Then press 1. Wait until you feel the vibration.
Then point the camera towards the Zenith and press 2.

#32 Joe Bergeron

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 11:15 AM

Well, I did have the camera covered with my finger each time. That was an obvious step.

#33 nevy

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 01:32 PM

@nevy, the app doesn't show up if you don't have an iPhone 4, 4S or 5. Is that the case?
@jörgen, @Mark, we are currently testing the iPad Mini and Ipad 3 and 4. The results are not accurate enough yet. Hope we find a solution.
Regards
Norbert

Hello norbert , I was trying to find it on my iPad , but I searched for it on the iPhone and its available , thank you very much , sorted now.

#34 otte443

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 06:30 PM

very cool. Have been considering getting a sky meter, now i dont have to.

#35 beatlejuice

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 01:29 AM

I am looking forward to doing a comparison between my meter and the app when I find someone with the app.

Eric

#36 Joe Bergeron

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 03:48 PM

Last night I was able to get the app to work after another failed attempt. It diagnosed the moonlit sky about as I expected it to. I would say that you are right in lowering the expectations of those using this with an iPhone 4. I also tried it in a dimly lighted room. It informed me that the ceiling was a bright urban sky offering little potential for stargazing.

#37 saemark30

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 02:56 PM

Good idea.
I am wondering for those without iPhone can this be done with webcams such as old Philips Vesta with CCD or newer Microsoft ones?

#38 sirchz

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 01:16 PM

I also tried it in a dimly lighted room. It informed me that the ceiling was a bright urban sky offering little potential for stargazing.


Nothing a few glow in the dark plastic stars and a little glue couldn't fix. :)

#39 Nop

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 03:37 AM

@saemark30
I think that should be possible. Working with webcams would even be easier because a developer has more control over the camera than apple allows us.

#40 Ira

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 07:31 AM

does it work with the 3gs?

/Ira

#41 budman1961

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 09:24 AM

Ira...the first post mentions this..An important note:
Apple forced us to support the iPhone 4. Because it has a camera which is very bad at low light conditions, every measurement at or above SQM 20 is unreliable.

#42 Nop

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 12:32 PM

Indeed, the 4S and 5 are the only reliable models. We are investigating the iPod Touch 5, iPad 3, and mini. But it will take a lot of time. We did 5000(!) measurements to create the algorithm for the 4S and 5. The iPod and iPad's camera's are different and not as good as the 4S & 5.

#43 corpusse

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 10:19 PM

Just tried the free version for now. Very neat. Apparently my sky is 89 times as bright as a natural clear night sky!

Going to try from my dark site next week.

#44 RobbW

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 11:34 AM

I was doing a Google search for SQMs because I wanted to get one to help with my GLOBE at Night measurements and submissions. Obviously, the most prominent SQM (and the only one that I can find so far) is from Unihedron. Well, you have to order it online and wait for shipping, which I normally don't mind. However, I wanted to use an SQM tonight. So, I started searching for alternative night sky meters and found that there was a brand new iOS app for that. I immediately went to the App Store to purchase and download the pro version. Much to my dismay and chagrin, it is not compatible with my brand new iPod Touch 5. Wish I would have found this thread first so that I wouldn't have gotten so excited right away.

I will wait patiently (or not!) for this app to be developed for the new iPod Touch 5 or iPad 3. I will definitely purchase it as soon as it is available. In the meantime, it is back to searching for an SQM available locally so I can satisfy my immediate impulse to buy one!

#45 Nop

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 11:17 AM

@RobbW
It takes a lot of time to do research for devices. For iPhone 4S and 5 we performed about 5000 (!) measurements. Right now we are testing for iPad 3, mini and iPod. But it will take some time because we need dark and clear skies to perform accurate measurements.

#46 Gordon Rayner

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 12:49 PM

Can this technology be used as a photometer? For example, to compare the light transmission of various binoculars?

#47 Nop

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 03:15 PM

Yes, that should be possible.. The camera's are very sensitive and a lot of corrections and calibrations can be done with the software.

#48 Bernard Minster

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 08:30 AM

Well, I trusted the web site claim that this app works even on an iPhone 4 (albeit with poor results dues to the low quality camera), and dutifully paid for the "pro" app. Neither the "lite" app nor the "pro" app can be installed on an iPhone 4, citing "incompatibility" and lack of a "front" camera. I tried through iTunes and via direct download, and got the same negative result. I suppose this means I lost my money unless I buy an iPhone 5. BTW I got the same results with iPad (but that was expected). I live in Encinitas, a town north of San Diego, 35 miles from Palomar and Laguna observatories both. Encinitas has neighborhoods with "dark skies" ordinances, and others with no restrictions. Now they plan a Sports park with 90 foot lights for night-time games -- and these are surely not sodium lights :-) . I am hoping to trigger a little bit of crowd sourcing of sky quality, perhaps involving neighbors and even some of the high school kids who plan to play soccer or baseball at night. This App sounds to me like the perfect tool, especially if an Android version is planned. However, I first wanted to get familiar with it and am not about to upgrade to an iPhone 5 for a single App until I can gauge whether non scientists can learn to make careful measurements with it. Perhaps an earlier release (1,1? or 1.2?) was running on an iPhone 4, even with erratic results, but I cannot find a way to download anything else but version 1.3.
Norbert: could you perhaps let me know?
Thanks in advance.

#49 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 12:59 PM

Yes, that should be possible.. The camera's are very sensitive and a lot of corrections and calibrations can be done with the software.


Interesting. How about measuring relative eyepiece transmission?

#50 EddWen

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 01:06 PM

I don't know much about this app, but my iPhone 4 has front and back cameras.

If I buy it, I'll report what happens. Not 'til next week though.






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