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SkySafari Plus as Atlas

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#1 Galicapernistein

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 01:45 PM

Is SkySafari Plus detailed enough to use instead of traditional atlases? For instance, if I'm looking for a very faint galaxy cluster, will SkySafari zoom in to show the field as it would appear through, say, a 50x eyepiece? Does it show the orientation of the galaxies? Or doesn't it show galaxy clusters?

#2 btschumy

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 02:03 PM

I think you'll find that SkySafari Plus is quite a bit more detailed than any printed atlas. Galaxies are draw in the correct orientation and size. Galaxy clusters are drawn only if each individual galaxy in the cluster is in the database.

Here is an image from Plus showing Markarian's Chain. Stars down to about 12th mag are shown (this is about as deep as Plus goes).

http://www.southerns...karianChain.png

Bill

#3 Galicapernistein

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 02:20 PM

Thanks Bill. So if I want to find a galaxy cluster field, I would do a search for the brightest member (which would probably already be in the database)? Or is there a search function for galaxy clusters?

#4 btschumy

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 02:30 PM

Well, we do have some of the well known ones. For example you can search for "Markarian's Chain" and find it. However, we haven't made an effort to ensure all named galaxy clusters will be found that way. Searching for a bright member of the chain will always get you there though.

We should have all galaxies down to about 15th mag in the Plus database.

#5 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 02:34 PM

Over the last year or so I have been transitioning from Uranometria to SkySafari. I think my paper atlas has taken its last trip out of the office.

SkySafari is more than detailed enough - and it not only replaces your atlas, but reference books too. And unlike paper atlases, it is not affected by wind.

The only display feature where I find SkySafari wanting is dark nebula. They are rendered as square outlines in the approximate size of the object, and the display color is the same the RA and DEC grid. It can be very cluttered and confusing times. Ideally they would be actual shape (like bright nebula) although rendering square outline in a different display color (dark grey?) would be very helpful too.

#6 Galicapernistein

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 02:38 PM

15th mag is more than enough for my current scope, but in case I ever win the lottery the Pro sounds even better. Thanks for the info!

#7 Galicapernistein

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 02:55 PM

I just bought a new Uranometria too, but I'll be more than happy to leave it home as a reference book.

#8 helpwanted

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 09:05 PM

I also find very little need for a printed atlas, after using SS+

#9 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 05:31 AM

I also find very little need for a printed atlas, after using SS+


I have been using handheld devices for the past 10 or more years. Until Sky Safari came along, I was using Planetarium for the Palm and it was quite capable with large databases but slow...

But Sky Safari really has taken it to the next level... As Jeff said, it's not just the chart but it's the wealth of information and not just the typical distances, magnitudes, rise and set times, RA and DEC alt-az etc. For many objects there are detailed descriptions including observing tips and observing information...

Jon

#10 rmollise

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 08:19 AM

Is SkySafari Plus detailed enough to use instead of traditional atlases?


It leaves traditional atlases, print atlases, in the dust. Even Millennium... ;)

#11 Tom Polakis

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 09:35 AM

Pretty much what everybody else said is true. There's no going back after you start using SkySafari.

My single complaint is that I would like a wider range of star dot sizes when you are zoomed into a small field. If the range of magnitudes in a field is, say, 12 to 15, all of those symbols are plotted with roughly the same, tiny size. It would be very helpful if the 12th magnitude stars appeared as larger symbols in small fields. I understand what that would do with the occasional 6th magnitude interloper star symbol, but it would be a worthwhile trade-off.

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#12 tezster

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 07:28 AM

The most important aspect of using SkySafari while observing at a dark site (and it's not even really directly related to the app itself) is controlling the amount of light output by whichever portable device it's being used on. This is typically accomplished by using night mode, in addition to some type of light-dimming app and/or placing a red/rubylith film over the display.

Having said that, the benefits definitely outweigh any disadvantages compared to a traditional printed atlas.

#13 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 06:57 AM

Is SkySafari Plus detailed enough to use instead of traditional atlases? For instance, if I'm looking for a very faint galaxy cluster, will SkySafari zoom in to show the field as it would appear through, say, a 50x eyepiece? Does it show the orientation of the galaxies? Or doesn't it show galaxy clusters?


If you really want to look at galaxies and have the scope to go deep, the Pro is probably better... 740,000 Galaxies down to magnitude 18.

For most observers, probably the Plus is more than adequate.

Jon

#14 Galicapernistein

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 09:16 AM

Is SkySafari Plus detailed enough to use instead of traditional atlases? For instance, if I'm looking for a very faint galaxy cluster, will SkySafari zoom in to show the field as it would appear through, say, a 50x eyepiece? Does it show the orientation of the galaxies? Or doesn't it show galaxy clusters?


If you really want to look at galaxies and have the scope to go deep, the Pro is probably better... 740,000 Galaxies down to magnitude 18.

For most observers, probably the Plus is more than adequate.

Jon


Jon, with all the extra galaxies included in the Pro version, do the galaxy fields look cluttered? In theory I like the idea of being able to know that there are galaxies that I can't see, but in the field, do the "invisible" galaxies make the visible galaxies harder to pick out? Or can you edit out the dimmer galaxies?

#15 JonNPR

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 12:22 PM

You can customize SSP in almost any way you want or need for a particular use for instance: magnitude limits specifically for DSO's; whether they will display when you are zoomed out to wide views. So you can choose whether the large number of fainter galaxies will be displayed, and when they will be.

It's an excellent program with continuing significant support.

Jon (although not THAT Jon!)

#16 Galicapernistein

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 12:52 PM

You can customize SSP in almost any way you want or need for a particular use for instance: magnitude limits specifically for DSO's; whether they will display when you are zoomed out to wide views. So you can choose whether the large number of fainter galaxies will be displayed, and when they will be.

It's an excellent program with continuing significant support.

Jon (although not THAT Jon!)


Thanks Jon. It sounds like the Pro is what I'll be getting.

#17 btschumy

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 04:19 PM

Be aware that Pro on Android takes about 1.3 GB of free space on the internal SD card. It is a large program.

#18 weinerat

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 11:59 PM

The most important aspect of using SkySafari while observing at a dark site (and it's not even really directly related to the app itself) is controlling the amount of light output by whichever portable device it's being used on. This is typically accomplished by using night mode, in addition to some type of light-dimming app and/or placing a red/rubylith film over the display.

Having said that, the benefits definitely outweigh any disadvantages compared to a traditional printed atlas.


Terence, light dimming app? Can you name a few. I have rubylith for my iPad but will lose it this summer while the family is traveling so I need to use my phone. Would like an app to reduce the brightness.

#19 tezster

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 06:58 AM

Hi Aaron - I use an app called screendim with an Android tablet, which probably isn't that useful for you if you ahve an iPhone. I'm sure there are a number of dimming apps for the iOS.

#20 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 08:20 PM

Terence, light dimming app? Can you name a few. I have rubylith for my iPad but will lose it this summer while the family is traveling so I need to use my phone. Would like an app to reduce the brightness.


I have looked at a few and deleted them as inadequate.

The simplest solution is to buy another sheet of whichever red film you prefer. It's not like buying another Ethos.

#21 skysurfer

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Posted 10 June 2013 - 02:32 AM

Be aware that Pro on Android takes about 1.3 GB of free space on the internal SD card. It is a large program.


On my Galaxy Note 2 it takes 800MB (v. 1.7.5).

Anyway it is an excellent sky atlas in the field ! I use it always with observations.

#22 Galicapernistein

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 02:21 PM

Just to update my original post, I finally bought the Sky Safari Pro app the day after I got my state of the art (for now) iPod touch. It really is like having an atlas that fits in the palm of your hand, but also a reference guide that gives you basic information about practically everything you can see in the sky, and even succinct articles about astronomically important objects. Just push the info button. It also lets you zoom into the more famous objects and see an actual image of the object, to scale and properly oriented. Very nice. It's going to make my observing sessions much easier.

#23 weinerat

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 08:25 PM

I really need to update to version 3. Been using version 2 for years, but 3 looks a lot better. was waiting for version 4, but figure that will come out the day after I upgrade.

#24 David Knisely

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 11:17 PM

Is SkySafari Plus detailed enough to use instead of traditional atlases? For instance, if I'm looking for a very faint galaxy cluster, will SkySafari zoom in to show the field as it would appear through, say, a 50x eyepiece? Does it show the orientation of the galaxies? Or doesn't it show galaxy clusters?


It works pretty well, but if you are at all serious about really "going deep", you would be better off with the full Sky Safari Pro version. It has the fainter star database plus galaxies somewhat past 15th magnitude, so its coverage is better than the plus version. That having been said, as far as a comparison to the computer-based atlas programs like MEGASTAR, Sky Safari Pro still has maybe a little "growing-up" to do. While it has the galaxies present in many of the well-recognized galaxy clusters, as far as labeling the galaxy clusters themselves (like the Abell groups), that part is missing. A number of other very useful things to know that Megastar covers in its output are missing from Sky Safari as well, like thumbnail DSS images of all the galaxies in the program's database, globular cluster V-tip and Horizontal Branch magnitudes, open cluster member numbers/classes, and galaxy surface brightness figures to name but a few. It also provides a little information that might be a bit on the extraneous side, and some of the information in some of Sky Safari Pro's "Description" pages even occasionally contradicts the data output on that same object in the program. Still, it is a *very* powerful program which is quite useful both in planning and in the field. Clear skies to you.

#25 Galicapernistein

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 02:29 PM

Is SkySafari Plus detailed enough to use instead of traditional atlases? For instance, if I'm looking for a very faint galaxy cluster, will SkySafari zoom in to show the field as it would appear through, say, a 50x eyepiece? Does it show the orientation of the galaxies? Or doesn't it show galaxy clusters?


It works pretty well, but if you are at all serious about really "going deep", you would be better off with the full Sky Safari Pro version. It has the fainter star database plus galaxies somewhat past 15th magnitude, so its coverage is better than the plus version. That having been said, as far as a comparison to the computer-based atlas programs like MEGASTAR, Sky Safari Pro still has maybe a little "growing-up" to do. While it has the galaxies present in many of the well-recognized galaxy clusters, as far as labeling the galaxy clusters themselves (like the Abell groups), that part is missing. A number of other very useful things to know that Megastar covers in its output are missing from Sky Safari as well, like thumbnail DSS images of all the galaxies in the program's database, globular cluster V-tip and Horizontal Branch magnitudes, open cluster member numbers/classes, and galaxy surface brightness figures to name but a few. It also provides a little information that might be a bit on the extraneous side, and some of the information in some of Sky Safari Pro's "Description" pages even occasionally contradicts the data output on that same object in the program. Still, it is a *very* powerful program which is quite useful both in planning and in the field. Clear skies to you.


I did get the Pro version. I agree that it would be nice to have a reference image of every galaxy, and also be able to search for things like galaxy clusters and interacting galaxies. But for the price I'm more than happy with it. And the fact that I can use it on my iPod Touch as a "pocket atlas" is the icing on the cake. Maybe someday SkySafari will come out with a "SuperPro" version. I would definitely buy it.






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