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Nop
Vendor (iPushto)


Reged: 02/12/06

Loc: Netherlands, Valkenburg
Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now!
      #5808098 - 04/19/13 03:23 AM

Apple has approved the dark sky meter after a long wait. Both lite and pro apps are on the app store now! The Dark Sky Meter is an affordable app to measure light pollution. It works like all commercially available SQM readers, and does a lot more.
The app is made in cooperation with the IDA.

Lite version only shows the number of times the sky is bright as a natural clear sky

Pro version outputs SQM (18--22), has a light pollution map and a cloud forecast.

The app is developed with: Harro Treur, Mario Hodzelmans and the IDA officials.

Link to the Lite app (free):
https://itunes.apple.com/app/dark-sky-meter-lite/id626796278?l=en&mt=8

Link to the pro app ($.4.99):
https://itunes.apple.com/nl/app/dark-sky-meter/id602989060?l=en&mt=8

Both will appear on the Dark Sky Meter homepage.

http://www.darkskymeter.com

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.

Thanks for reading.
If you want to review the app, please reply and i will send you a promo code to download the app for free.


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johnpd
sage


Reged: 04/13/08

Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Nop]
      #5808213 - 04/19/13 07:07 AM

Congrats Norbert on a fine app.

JohnD


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johnpd
sage


Reged: 04/13/08

Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: johnpd]
      #5808232 - 04/19/13 07:28 AM

Norbert,

Some comments:

1. The screen picture on iTunes for the Lite version seems to be the Pro screen.

2. If someone submits a value from the Lite version, where can they go to get that SQM value?

JohnD


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MikeCatfin
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/12/04

Loc: NJ, USA
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: johnpd]
      #5808302 - 04/19/13 08:45 AM

I just downloaded the Pro version; hopefully I can try it out this weekend. Thanks Norbert!

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Nop
Vendor (iPushto)


Reged: 02/12/06

Loc: Netherlands, Valkenburg
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: MikeCatfin]
      #5809075 - 04/19/13 05:02 PM

Thanks John & Mike.
1) Yes, the screenshots are wrong, i'll fix that in an update
2) The values are visible in the Pro version. I'll put a Google map on the darkskymeter.com website soon where the readings will be visible for both lite and pro versions.


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nevy
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 02/07/12

Loc: UK
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Nop]
      #5809102 - 04/19/13 05:09 PM

Is this gonna be available in the UK?

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Jeff Morgan
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 09/28/03

Loc: Prescott, AZ
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Nop]
      #5809121 - 04/19/13 05:18 PM

Fantastic!

Settling the argument with my observing friends over which of our sites is better is worth the $5 all by itself. And if I win the wager for a beer, it will be like getting the app for free.


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psandelle
professor emeritus


Reged: 06/18/08

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Jeff Morgan]
      #5809894 - 04/20/13 12:35 AM

Gonna get the Pro version now. Seems very cool!

Paul


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psandelle
professor emeritus


Reged: 06/18/08

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: psandelle]
      #5809916 - 04/20/13 12:55 AM

This thing rocks! I'm not too caring about how dark the sky is (I'm where I am whether I want to be or not), but I'm always curious, so having this on my iPhone is like icing on the cake. It's easy, seems pretty accurate, and voila.

Nice job!

Paul


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johnpd
sage


Reged: 04/13/08

Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Nop]
      #5809959 - 04/20/13 01:58 AM

Thanks Norbert.

JohnD


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crazyqban
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 12/16/08

Loc: Miami, Florida
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: johnpd]
      #5810078 - 04/20/13 05:00 AM

Cool app, will test on my next visit to a dark site.

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Traveler
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/19/07

Loc: The Netherlands
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: crazyqban]
      #5810391 - 04/20/13 09:11 AM

Hallo Norbert, do you have plans for an Android version?

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Nop
Vendor (iPushto)


Reged: 02/12/06

Loc: Netherlands, Valkenburg
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Traveler]
      #5811052 - 04/20/13 02:33 PM

Hi Traveler,
There are a lot of different Android devices, more than 4000 in total (2013). With so many camera types on the market, it seems impossible to make a decent Android port of our software. We might pick a popular model (for example Samsung Galaxy). The app looks simple, but is quite complicated under the hood, so porting the software will be a challenge.
Regards


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junomike
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 09/07/09

Loc: Ontario
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Nop]
      #5811213 - 04/20/13 03:38 PM

Eagerly awaiting the Samsung Galaxy Version. Do you know If the camera is the same in G2 and G3?
Also, which one are you going to be using?

Mike


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Nop
Vendor (iPushto)


Reged: 02/12/06

Loc: Netherlands, Valkenburg
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: junomike]
      #5812296 - 04/21/13 04:13 AM

Hi Mike,
We haven't researched that yet. It will also depend on the time of our android developer. Making the app for Apple was a lot of work, so it will possible be for android too.
Meanwhile we will evaluate the camera of the last generation iPod Touch and iPad 3/4 and mini.

Regards
Norebert


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motorcitymik
Vendor - motorcitymik


Reged: 03/28/13

Loc: S.E. Michigan
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Nop]
      #5812634 - 04/21/13 10:00 AM

My friends and I would definitely be interested in an Android version! Please keep us posted.btw the Samsung Galaxy would be a great place to start

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mblack
Throw me a bone here
*****

Reged: 10/31/05

Loc: Florida, USA.
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Nop]
      #5812935 - 04/21/13 12:04 PM

Quote:

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.




Hello Norbert,

I have an iPhone 4s, does your statement apply to that phones camera as well?
Thanks.


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budman1961
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 02/25/11

Loc: Springfield, MO
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: mblack]
      #5813089 - 04/21/13 01:49 PM

Norbert,

Does this measure through the front or rear facing camera? Also, would it be possible to have a button to make the results brighter/daytime? Can previous measurements be retrieved also?

Andy


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Nop
Vendor (iPushto)


Reged: 02/12/06

Loc: Netherlands, Valkenburg
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: budman1961]
      #5814633 - 04/22/13 04:32 AM

Thanks or your response!

@David, the iPhone 4S camera is a much, much better camera. Our app works great with the 4S.

@Andy
The rear camera. I'll create a different color scheme for daytime readings. You can retrieve the last 3 readings using the built-in map. I'll think about a table which retrieves all the readings, would be a good idea.


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Jeff Morgan
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 09/28/03

Loc: Prescott, AZ
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Nop]
      #5814987 - 04/22/13 10:46 AM

Which camera is considered the rear? The one opposite the screen?

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Nop
Vendor (iPushto)


Reged: 02/12/06

Loc: Netherlands, Valkenburg
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Jeff Morgan]
      #5815102 - 04/22/13 12:02 PM

Yes. (The front camera is intended for videoconferencing, the back camera is much better)
We only use the back camera for the app.

Edited by Nop (04/22/13 12:07 PM)


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Nop
Vendor (iPushto)


Reged: 02/12/06

Loc: Netherlands, Valkenburg
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Nop]
      #5821208 - 04/25/13 02:00 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.

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nevy
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 02/07/12

Loc: UK
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Nop]
      #5822758 - 04/25/13 06:29 PM

Hello norbert, is this app going to be available in the UK App Store any time soon?

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MDearingJaxFL
Astronomicus
*****

Reged: 08/28/04

Loc: Florida
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Jeff Morgan]
      #5823238 - 04/25/13 10:01 PM

Would love to use this on my Ipad 4

:>) Mark


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Jörgen
newbie


Reged: 09/01/11

Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Nop]
      #5823511 - 04/26/13 02:07 AM

Hello - do you have plans to release it for the Ipad Mini ?

Best Regards

Jörgen


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johnpd
sage


Reged: 04/13/08

Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Nop]
      #5823607 - 04/26/13 05:16 AM

Quote:

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


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Nop
Vendor (iPushto)


Reged: 02/12/06

Loc: Netherlands, Valkenburg
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: johnpd]
      #5824705 - 04/26/13 03:38 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


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Joe Bergeron
Vendor - Space Art


Reged: 11/10/03

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Nop]
      #5825580 - 04/27/13 01:21 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.

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Nop
Vendor (iPushto)


Reged: 02/12/06

Loc: Netherlands, Valkenburg
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Joe Bergeron]
      #5825632 - 04/27/13 02:37 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


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A. Viegas
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 03/05/12

Loc: New York City/ CT
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Nop]
      #5825851 - 04/27/13 08:25 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


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Nop
Vendor (iPushto)


Reged: 02/12/06

Loc: Netherlands, Valkenburg
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: A. Viegas]
      #5826090 - 04/27/13 11:25 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.


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Joe Bergeron
Vendor - Space Art


Reged: 11/10/03

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Nop]
      #5826185 - 04/27/13 12:15 PM

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

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nevy
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 02/07/12

Loc: UK
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Nop]
      #5826452 - 04/27/13 02:32 PM

Quote:

@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.


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otte443
journeyman
*****

Reged: 02/21/13

Loc: Talent, Oregon
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: nevy]
      #5827143 - 04/27/13 07:30 PM

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

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beatlejuice
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 04/05/11

Loc: Hamilton, ON,Canada
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: otte443]
      #5827692 - 04/28/13 02:29 AM

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

Eric


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Joe Bergeron
Vendor - Space Art


Reged: 11/10/03

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Nop]
      #5828734 - 04/28/13 04:48 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.

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saemark30
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/21/12

Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Joe Bergeron]
      #5834699 - 05/01/13 03:56 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?


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sirchz
super member


Reged: 09/21/09

Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Joe Bergeron]
      #5836422 - 05/02/13 02:16 PM

Quote:

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.


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Nop
Vendor (iPushto)


Reged: 02/12/06

Loc: Netherlands, Valkenburg
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: sirchz]
      #5837650 - 05/03/13 04:37 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.


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Ira
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 08/22/10

Loc: Mitzpe Ramon, Israel
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Nop]
      #5837796 - 05/03/13 08:31 AM

does it work with the 3gs?

/Ira


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budman1961
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 02/25/11

Loc: Springfield, MO
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Ira]
      #5837994 - 05/03/13 10:24 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.


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Nop
Vendor (iPushto)


Reged: 02/12/06

Loc: Netherlands, Valkenburg
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: budman1961]
      #5840129 - 05/04/13 01:32 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.

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corpusse
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 04/11/10

Loc: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Nop]
      #5840912 - 05/04/13 11:19 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.


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RobbW
sage


Reged: 02/09/10

Loc: Elgin, IL
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: corpusse]
      #5847684 - 05/08/13 12:34 PM

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!


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Nop
Vendor (iPushto)


Reged: 02/12/06

Loc: Netherlands, Valkenburg
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: RobbW]
      #5855368 - 05/12/13 12:17 PM

@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.


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Gordon Rayner
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 03/24/07

Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Nop]
      #5867245 - 05/17/13 01:49 PM

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

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Nop
Vendor (iPushto)


Reged: 02/12/06

Loc: Netherlands, Valkenburg
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Gordon Rayner]
      #5871863 - 05/19/13 04:15 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.

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Bernard Minster
newbie


Reged: 08/07/13

Loc: Encinitas, California
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Jeff Morgan]
      #6013215 - 08/08/13 09:30 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.


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Jeff Morgan
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 09/28/03

Loc: Prescott, AZ
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Nop]
      #6013795 - 08/08/13 01:59 PM

Quote:

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?


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EddWen
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 04/26/08

Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Bernard Minster]
      #6015934 - 08/09/13 02:06 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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Joe Bergeron
Vendor - Space Art


Reged: 11/10/03

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: EddWen]
      #6018508 - 08/11/13 02:55 AM

I have an iPhone 4 and have installed the app without difficulty. I haven't tried it under a really dark sky, but under typical local conditions the reports it offers seem consistent with what I observe.

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Nop
Vendor (iPushto)


Reged: 02/12/06

Loc: Netherlands, Valkenburg
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Bernard Minster]
      #6026640 - 08/15/13 08:20 AM

Quote:

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



Are you sure you have an iPhone 4 and not an iPod or an iPhone 3 or 3S??
The app should install on every device with a front facing camera and telephony function (=Iphone 4 and up). I require a front facing camera and telephony to force support for iPhone 4 and up only. The reason behind it is to not allow iPhone 3 users to use the app. The iPhone 3 camera is terrible and absolutely not suitable for taking night pictures.
If you encounter problems, please let me know directly by sending a mail to dsm@ddq.nl I'll be glad to help.


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johnpd
sage


Reged: 04/13/08

Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Nop]
      #6046373 - 08/26/13 03:40 AM

Norbert,

Are the results from the "Lite" version available online (for instance on the map or some other location) if they are "submitted"? I ask this because the fall Globe at Night campaign will be starting shortly and I am wondering whether school kids could use the Lite version to submit results (the actual SQM number) to Globe at Night. I noticed that the map gives reading, date, and time data but does not give GPS information. With Globe at Night there may be a bunch of readings in a concentrated area. It may be difficult to figure out which reading belongs to any particular person although I guess if you zoom in far enough you could figure it out.

Thanks,

JohnD


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Nop
Vendor (iPushto)


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Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: johnpd]
      #6048232 - 08/27/13 06:06 AM

Hi John,
Yes, the Lite measurements are on the map too. In the lite version the result is shown as 'times x a natural', but the submitted results are converted to SQM value.
Regards
Norbert


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Nop
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Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Nop]
      #6103532 - 09/27/13 05:54 AM

Dear Dark Sky Meter users.
The iPhone 5S will get experimental support in the next release. Because of the fact that the phone is not available in my country, i am not able to test it thouroughly (for each device, about 5000 measurements are made!). The 5C has the same sensor as the 5, so that one will work!


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Joe Bergeron
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Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Nop]
      #6105049 - 09/27/13 10:29 PM

I'm looking forward to the update.

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petemumbower
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Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Joe Bergeron]
      #6146935 - 10/19/13 03:48 PM

I purchased the Pro version of the app and naturally, it will be cloudy for the next week here. So I was wondering I close the SQM reading with the app compares to the Unihedron units?

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PGW Steve
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Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: petemumbower]
      #6147257 - 10/19/13 06:48 PM

Quote:

I purchased the Pro version of the app and naturally, it will be cloudy for the next week here. So I was wondering I close the SQM reading with the app compares to the Unihedron units?




I see a .1 or less variation. So close that I don't bother with my Unihedron, as I always have my phone with me. Great app!!!!


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ahopp
sage


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Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: PGW Steve]
      #6150002 - 10/21/13 02:40 PM

Does it work with the iPhone 5s yet?

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Nop
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Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: ahopp]
      #6160730 - 10/27/13 01:07 PM

@ahopp, we still don't have iPhone 5S in the Netherlands, so once i get one (hopefully within this month) i can start testing it (=checking out the chip). It will absolutely qualify, because it should have a very sensitive camera.
But it will take some time..


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mtnmedic
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Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Nop]
      #6165092 - 10/29/13 06:25 PM

I just installed this app on my iPhone 4S. Been looking for something like this for some time.

I live in a dark sky location,which us a village of 40 people, five or six street lamps, none of them anywhere near my house, as I live in the "dark/quiet" end of town. The next nearest town is 32 miles away, population 6,000, but the terrain here is very hilly and rugged so we're in a bit of a bowl. As such, there really is no city glow perceivable to the naked eye here other than for what few lights are in my town. There are spots not far from here that I believe are darker.

It's daytime right now, so I did tests in the house:

1). Bathroom with no windows, a dim red night light and white light coming through between door and door frame/floor. SQM 16.04 "inner city sky"

2) Walk in closet with no inside lighting, some white light seeping in through space between door and door frame/floor, though less than bathroom. SQM 20.58 "suburban sky"

3). Same location as #2, but this time I did a "dark" (pressing the camera up against my chest, wearing a dark blue sweater) and then again for the "sky" measurement. SQM 20.89 "rural/suburban transition"

4). Exactly the same as above, only this time I also covered up the FRONT facing camera as well. SQM 21.18 "rural/suburban transition"

5). Same location as above. Only this time I wrapped the phone up snugly, fully covering screen and front facing camera, in double-folded black t-shirt for both "dark" and "sky". SQM 21.36 "rural sky"

I was disappointed, thinking this probably should've given a darker rating, especially for the last two readings. One possibility would be that the light given off from the app during reading is reflected and also recorded. Even as low as it is, and in red, the light from the app is still pretty bright in such a dark environment. I used to have a film bag, which I would've loved to duplicate this test with, but I might've gotten a similar reading because of the app lighting being reflected and measured.

Maybe the app itself requires the iPhone to be actually oriented somewhat level with the rear-facing camera pointing outward (upward, in this case), as opposed to against my chest or other orientation?

Might there perhaps be a way for the app to momentarily go completely dark or interpose a "black" full-screen image just during the readings?

Looks like tonight will be clear, free of clouds, waning crescent moon rising at 7:30pm as well as darkness setting at about that time (that is, astronomical dusk ends). Will give it a go then. New Moon is this Sunday.

Will report back with measurements and post them via the app as well.


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Nop
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Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: mtnmedic]
      #6165793 - 10/30/13 07:04 AM

You will really have to test this at night, with the phone pointed upwards. Testing indoors is tricky because of the wide FOV of the app and the 'unnatural' light distribution. Any slit of light can ruin the measurement. And it sounds strange, but the night light is different from the home light. We did a lot of measurements indoor. Also note that the front facing camera is not used. Just cover the back camera.

Edited by Nop (10/30/13 07:22 AM)


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sirchz
super member


Reged: 09/21/09

Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: mtnmedic]
      #6166455 - 10/30/13 01:46 PM

mtnmedic: Just curious, did you have the screen brightness turned down as low as possible during your measurements?

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mtnmedic
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Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: sirchz]
      #6166466 - 10/30/13 01:53 PM

Quote:

mtnmedic: Just curious, did you have the screen brightness turned down as low as possible during your measurements?




Aha! No...I noticed that it was about 3/4 dimmed.

So...I just now went back into the closet (stop laughing!), turned the screen brightness all the way down, did a "dark" then held the phone way up above my head, uncovered, and did a "sky".

Came out to SQM 21.37 "rural sky"


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mtnmedic
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Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Nop]
      #6166514 - 10/30/13 02:20 PM

Quote:

You will really have to test this at night, with the phone pointed upwards. Testing indoors is tricky because of the wide FOV of the app and the 'unnatural' light distribution. Any slit of light can ruin the measurement. And it sounds strange, but the night light is different from the home light. We did a lot of measurements indoor. Also note that the front facing camera is not used. Just cover the back camera.




Okay, I did just that and got SQM 20.84 NELM 6.47 with the Moon at 21%

Only thing, the Moon wasn't up yet by far. Unless it's pretty sensitive enough to pick up traces of moon glow.

Of course now thinking, I should probably have turned off my TV before I went outside last night to test (there is a road and a field, nothing else, at my house, nothing else around). The rest of the house lights were off. I stood well out in the road in front if the house. So, I imagine perhaps the light from the TV also was picked up.


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johnpd
sage


Reged: 04/13/08

Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: mtnmedic]
      #6167833 - 10/31/13 07:00 AM

I believe the Moon percent is based on the current phase of the Moon, not how much light is being picked up from the Moon.

JohnD


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Nop
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Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: johnpd]
      #6176820 - 11/05/13 06:08 AM

Yes, the moon is current phase, regardless if its up or not, i still work on a precise moon altitude algorithm which will be in one of the next releases.
There are formulas on the net which can take the amount of moon illumination and calculate an SQM value as if it was dark, but those are pretty tricky and unreliable. That's why we've installed a filter on our website map.


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Nop
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Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Nop]
      #6192043 - 11/13/13 04:03 AM

Yesterday, we reached over 3000 validated measurements. Thanks a lot for submitting the data! The data will be used for next years Globe at Night program (and our map of course).

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nwcs
super member


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Loc: Tennessee
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Jeff Morgan]
      #6199995 - 11/17/13 01:55 PM

Cool app! Just picked it up. Will have to wait to try it, though, since it is raining.

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Whichwayisnorth
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Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Nop]
      #6238115 - 12/06/13 09:05 PM

I picked this up today. Took a quick test outside. I will test again later in the night when neighbors turn their lights off and it clears a bit more. Oh also when the moon sets.

Looks like a cool app. Using my wifes old 4s.


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djeber2
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Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Whichwayisnorth]
      #6239982 - 12/07/13 10:38 PM

Just downloaded the lite version, may get the pro version a little later.

Thanks for this app Norbert.


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Nop
Vendor (iPushto)


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Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: djeber2]
      #6254461 - 12/15/13 01:03 PM

You're welcome!
The Dark Sky Meter has been rewarded by the IDA this year. I've gotten the Dark Sky Defender award for it! I'm a happy man
This week i've got hold on a 5S. So i will start testing and start supporting this device after a lot of measurements during the holidays.


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petemumbower
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 07/12/09

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Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Nop]
      #6276374 - 12/27/13 11:48 PM

I just used this on my new 5S and it worked pretty good and got a reading of what I was expecting. I was using a 4S previously. Awesome app!

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Mary B
Vendor - Echo Astronomy and Electronics
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Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: petemumbower]
      #6291585 - 01/04/14 11:21 AM

Oddball idea... how about a calibrated light source that could be placed over the lend on an android phone in a dark room to calibrate the software? Led based should be doable for under $10

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Nop
Vendor (iPushto)


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Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Jeff Morgan]
      #6465234 - 04/14/14 08:34 AM

A new update has been posted to apple. It contains a 'tagging' function for data retrieval (mark/identify your own measurements in the database).
The app now displays 'this sky is X times as bright as..' in the pro version too. A CN user request.
Expect the update within 2 weeks.


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Nop
Vendor (iPushto)


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Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Nop]
      #6480735 - 04/22/14 08:31 AM

During dark Sky week the app is only $0.99. Thats a steal for a light pollution meter

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GeneT
Ely Kid
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Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Nop]
      #6481628 - 04/22/14 04:49 PM

When is the Android version coming?

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Nop
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Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: GeneT]
      #6482558 - 04/23/14 03:25 AM

There will be no Android version.
There are a lot of different Android devices, more than 4000 in total (2013). Most with different camera’s. With so many camera types on the market, it is impossible to make a decent Android port of our software.

But there is a nice and free alternative: the free app is called Loss of the Night https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cosalux.welovestars

This cool app is (very) different from our app (you have to use your eyes in stead of a camera), but it has the same goal: raising awareness for dark skies.


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RAKing
Postmaster
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Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Nop]
      #6487259 - 04/25/14 08:05 AM

Quote:

During dark Sky week the app is only $0.99. Thats a steal for a light pollution meter




Yes it is - and I downloaded it to my 5S. Thanks!

The meter seems to work very well and I submitted my first reading last night.

Take care,

Ron


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Psion
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 04/27/05

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Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: RAKing]
      #6487612 - 04/25/14 11:32 AM

I tested it 5 months ago (iPhone 4), it works very bad compared with SQM Meter from Unihedron.

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Doug Culbertson
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Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: RAKing]
      #6487626 - 04/25/14 11:38 AM

Just downloaded it to my 5S, and look forward to trying it out once the clouds clear out.

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stevetaylor199
sage
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Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Psion]
      #6488156 - 04/25/14 03:20 PM

Quote:

I tested it 5 months ago (iPhone 4), it works very bad compared with SQM Meter from Unihedron.




I have the app installed on the iPhone 4 as well, and frankly I haven't used it to measure the skies because the vendor has explained that model isn't up to the task.

I do love how this app has created maps of readings that any iPhone 4+ user can enjoy. (Or internet user, for that matter.)

I think a 5S is in my near future, so if anything I'd be curious to see how that model would compare to a Unihedron. (And for only five bucks!)


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Joe Bergeron
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Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Psion]
      #6488787 - 04/25/14 09:04 PM

Quote:

I tested it 5 months ago (iPhone 4), it works very bad compared with SQM Meter from Unihedron.




That's because the iPhone 4 camera was never up to the task, and was only supported at all because Apple demanded it of the developer.


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Psion
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 04/27/05

Loc: Czech Republic, Prague
Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Joe Bergeron]
      #6489301 - 04/26/14 08:00 AM

Sorry I have iPhone 4s.

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drollere
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Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: Psion]
      #6617955 - 07/05/14 12:15 PM

norbert,

congratulations on a very useful and very well designed app. i'm glad you're applying new technology to solve a very "old technology" problem (throw carbon into the sky in as many different forms of carbon as possible, including carbon as photons).

a question and some design suggestions:

Question. what is the reliability of the measurement? i took some readings last night at my mountain house and they varied from about 19.5 up to "SQM > 22. Too dark!" (maybe you should replace "too dark" with "lucky guy!") anyway, have you tested the app to determine the error intervals around SQM estimates? is the error greater as the sky gets darker, or in newer iphone versions? (i currently have an iphone 5 and will get a 6 when it comes out.)

1. on the meter screen, i'd suggest swapping the position of "darkness start" to be on the same line as "sunset" and "darkness end" to be on the same line as "sunrise", and place the "sunrise" and "sunset" vertically and the two "darkness" times vertically. this makes comparisons explicit.

2. i would add a fixed screen (like the Help screen) that interprets SQM values, for example as done here:

http://cleardarksky.com/csk/faq/2.html

3. there is no explanation, on the "settings page" as to what "calibration 0-21 (0=default)" or "calibration 21-up (0=default)" means, or why the calibration numbers would be changed, or what they should be changed to, etc.

4. once you get into "map", the only way to exit is to leave the app entirely. that is awkward.

thanks again, and good luck!


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drollere
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Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: drollere]
      #6619531 - 07/06/14 12:07 PM

postscript ... i was up at 3am this morning, after the quarter moon had set, to test the system. cygnus/milky way directly overhead.

phone was placed camera down (screen up) on a wood deck railing and covered with both hands to perform "dark".

phone was always pointed upward toward zenith, held while i was facing toward the northeast. 16 measurements were taken.

perhaps five or six readings were SQM > 22! the rest were were 21.65, 21.80, 21.70. so it is difficult to interpret the multiple readings. should i just discard the > 22, and average the rest?

i also obtained about 8 "invalid" readouts. the software does not inform how to resolve this issue. i rebooted the phone and this may have solved the problem. however, if a reading is "invalid" because the phone is not pointed near enough to the zenith, then it would be helpful if the phone gave this information -- "phone not pointed at zenith" or "zenith angle 20º" etc. to aid the user to obtain more reliable readings.

there is a "device angle" reading at the bottom of the "meter" screen but it is quite small and difficult to read. if it is a critical sampling requirement it should be displayed in a very large font in the center of the screen between the "dark" and "sky" operations.

good luck!


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Nop
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Re: Dark Sky Meter for iPhone available now! new [Re: drollere]
      #6635981 - 07/16/14 06:51 AM

Hi Bruce,
Thanks for your feedback! It's useful. I will start working on a new version soon.
To respond to some of your questions.
A reading of > 22 (or 'invalid') means that the sensor didn't capture any light. (The difference between dark and light is to small). As of iOS 8 (expected this fall) programmers are able to modify exposure times, so hopefully i will be able to capture more light. Always remember that an iPhone isn't a dedicated light measurement device and therefore i had to make some clever workarounds.
The calibration and other settings are explained on the www.darkskymeter.com website. We are working on a nice manual which can be downloaded from the site as a PDF file.
Good skies (like yours!) are always challenging. The app tries to get as many photons as possible. Mike Weasner has been testing and comparing on his very good and dark site.
In next versions we will try to largen the FOV to gather more light, but that involves some risks: a large FOV (like 22 degrees ) can result in inconsistensies like horizon glow, reflections and milky way averages.
If you get a lot of 'invalids' try to cover the camera as good as possible (eg inside a pocket).
The device angle is not a very important metric, just a rough indication (some folks do point at the floor ). Just point the back camera towards the zenit.

You can always go back to the main menu by clicking on the top left corner ('hamburger menu' ) and choose meter.

Hope this helps and again thanks for your feedback.


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