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iPad Astronomy Apps (Screenshots)

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#1 bicparker

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Posted 02 May 2010 - 04:02 PM

Well, the 3G iPad came in Friday at noon and it has been fun.

I have several astronomy apps loaded, but here are two really important and good ones:

First, SkyVoyager (screenshot below) was upgraded to an iPad version concurrent with the release of the iPad 3G (WOO HOO!). It is way way cool. This has been my favorite planetarium app on the iPhone and the iPad just makes it even better. This program has a lot of depth with a huge deep sky catalog, stellar catalog, and images. It is easy to use with a very practical menu system.

Second, and this is neat eye candy, but Observatory is an astronomer's clock. That is all it does, but it does it very well. It is NTP calibrated and includes planet visibility, lunar phase, UTC, Sidereal time, Solar time, solar azimuth and altitude, equation of time, and, of course, local time (which is sometimes useful, as well).

There are more, but these are my two top hits right now.. also worth mentioning, Exoplanet and Planets. There are others, and I am playing with them now, too.

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#2 bicparker

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Posted 02 May 2010 - 04:03 PM

Here is a screenshot of Observatory:

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#3 Paul Rix

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Posted 02 May 2010 - 04:39 PM

I'll have to add Sky Voyager to my list. I bought Star Walk last week. It is nice but a little 'lite' for the more serious amateur. I am hoping to see iPad updates for Moon Globe and Mars Globe.

Have fun with your iPad!

#4 bicparker

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Posted 02 May 2010 - 04:53 PM

SkyVoyager is definitely the "serious" program. I really find myself using it more and and StarMap Pro less these days, too. StarMap Pro has its strengths, but I just find the SkyVoyager menu system much easier to navigate. For those die hard StarMap Pro users, though, it does work as a 2X application on the iPad just fine with only a very little pixilation that doesn't get in the way of anything.

For light use or demonstrations, StarMap 3D+ is kind of neat and has a very interesting 3D mode. This mode lets you fly around the stars, basically. It is novel and can be useful for demonstrating a few concepts regarding our point of view and perception of the stars.

3D Sun looks good even in the 2X mode. I hope they upsize it for the iPad, though.

I mentioned Exoplanet. I really didn't think about this much till I started messing with it. This is really a feature rich database of the known exoplanets, so far. It includes star maps of the locations, diagrams of the orbits and other basic known information about each object. It also maintains some correlations that are worth looking through. It updates itself automatically with new discoveries. Rather cool.

I haven't looked yet at any Lunar or Mars tools, yet (not much of a Lunar observer), but I plan to in the near future. I have been waiting to see what comes out in the market (really not that much yet). The iPad could be an excellent Lunar observing companion given a good Lunar mapping application with phase and angular shadow/terminator information.

#5 ilovecomets

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Posted 02 May 2010 - 05:34 PM

My favorites so far:
Sky Voyager
Star Walk
Moon Atlas
Mars Atlas

Still waiting for Starmap Pro for the iPad. The Starmap Pro/Sky Voyager combination on the iPhone rocks.

#6 wykbbb

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 09:44 AM

I like the fact that Sky Voyager is a universal application that works on iPhone/iPod and iPad. If you already have the iPhone/iPod version, its a free upgrade to the iPad. A lot of developers are making separate iPhone/iPod vs iPad apps which forces existing users to rebuy the program, usually at a higher price.

I think the iPad is a great tool to take to public star parties or other outreach activities. You use the apps to show people how the sky changes as time passes, show them the changing phases of the moon, get facts about various objects.

APOD is also available on the iPad. Very pretty.

#7 amys

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Posted 08 May 2010 - 06:51 AM

Wow! SkyVoyager looks great. I use their smaller app, SkyGazer, on my iPod Touch but I think SkyVoyager will be residing there soon. I wasn't really thinking about an iPad but now . . . The thought of being able to use it with the wi-fi box to control my CG-5 mount is very appealing, plus an app like SkyVoyager would be great to have at public star parties.

I saw on the Carina website that SkyVoyager and the wi-fi box have been tested with, and work with, the Vixen SkySensor 2000. Does anybody reading this know if the combination will work with the Sphinx? I like the Starbook but this app on an iPad, or my iPod Touch even, would be much better.

#8 ilovecomets

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Posted 08 May 2010 - 10:53 PM

Does anyone know if the wifi box will work with anything else on the iPad? It's a great idea, but $150 for one app is a little much. Especially if something better comes along.

#9 btschumy

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 11:41 AM

Does anyone know if the wifi box will work with anything else on the iPad? It's a great idea, but $150 for one app is a little much. Especially if something better comes along.


This is what is said on Carina's SkiFi page about using it with other apps:
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Using SkyFi with Other Software
SkyFi lets you communicate with your telescope over a wireless TCP/IP connection. Both our Voyager desktop software and our SkyVoyager iPhone app are designed to do just that.

However, other astronomy programs like The Sky and Starry Night expect to communicate with a telescope directly over a serial port. To make SkyFi work with those programs, you'll need a virtual serial port driver - a piece of software that presents SkyFi's wireless TCP port to other programs as if it were a real serial port.

A number of third-party virtual serial port drivers are available, and many of them are free. Here are a few that we've successfully tested with SkyFi; all of these run on Windows:

HW VSP3 - our favorite! Works on Windows XP, Vista, and 7. Reasonably straightforward to install and configure.

com0com - an open-source virtual serial port driver for Windows. Also free, but not nearly as easy to set up as HW VSP3. You need to install and configure both the com0com and com2tcp pieces.

COM2TCP - $39 with a 45-day free trial, by AstroGeeks. Has the simplest user interface of any virtual serial port solution we've tried, but did not install correctly on WIndows 7 the first time. After some support from the developer, we were able to use it successfully.

Carina Software is developing its own virtual serial port drivers for Mac and Windows. In the meantime, you are free to use any of the solutions listed above. Please note that Carina Software does not provide support for third-party software such as The Sky, Starry Night, or the other programs listed above.
================================

#10 ilovecomets

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 06:08 PM

Excellent! Think I might have to give it a shot.

#11 beachchairbill

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 10:52 PM

Bic,

How is the memory in the Ipad and how mych memory is used by the Sky Voyger

Thanks

Beachchairbill

#12 beachchairbill

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 10:54 PM

Also, how expense was the Sky Voyger package.

BB

#13 MrMartin

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 11:32 PM

Is there any difference between Sky Voyager and Orion's new Star Seek app? They seem to look very similar.

#14 rmollise

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Posted 15 May 2010 - 05:57 PM

Is there any difference between Sky Voyager and Orion's new Star Seek app? They seem to look very similar.


They are exactly the same except for the titles/nameplates.

#15 btschumy

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 10:57 AM

Well, I'd say they are 98% the same. Orion asked for a few small additions related to the branding.

#16 psonice

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 11:37 AM

Bic,

How is the memory in the Ipad and how mych memory is used by the Sky Voyger

Thanks

Beachchairbill


This is really a computer question, and the ipad isn't really a computer so it's not a relevant question really. The real answer is "it doesn't matter". It has a fixed amount of memory, and the software is written so it uses less than that amount so you don't run out. The OS is extremely lightweight (my iphone is currently using around 69MB), and the software written for it is very lightweight too. Memory is an issue for us developers, but not for the people using one - like all the other technical aspects, it's handled so that you don't need to know or care.

For reference though, the technical answer is that the ipad has 256MB, and sky voyager uses somewhere less than 256MB. There's no way to find out how much memory it actually uses unless you're a developer (I don't have voyager or an ipad, or I could check). But for a rough idea starmap pro uses around 21MB on my iphone - the iphone version will be written for the original/3G iphones which have 128MB so it's conceivable that the ipad versions of these apps could use a lot more. This is when I first fire up the app - it's likely that it caches stuff in memory and loads menus + tools from disk while it's running so that could go up as it runs, but it'll be freeing things up when it finishes using them so you won't 'run out'.

#17 beachchairbill

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 07:08 PM

Anything new on the HP Slate and will it be able to run the Sky Voyger?

BB

#18 Astrosetz

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 07:13 PM

I heard the HP Slate was cancelled.

#19 wykbbb

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 09:42 PM

It's rumored that HP canceled the HP Slate because they will use the newly aquired Palm OS for their tablet instead of Windows. The other tablets I've heard about plan to use Android. I asked the people from Carnia software at NEAF if they had plans to support Android, and they said not at this time.

SkyFi works with SkyVoyager on the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad, as well as Voyager on Mac OS X and Windows. So, if you want to run SkyFi on a non-Mac/non-iPhone OS, you will have to use wifi-enabled laptop or netbook with Windows.

Cheapest options
1) iPod Touch, SkyVoyager $15, SkyFi $150.
2) Windows laptop/netbook, Voyager $80, SkyFi $150. Voyager is on sale for $80 until May 31st, normal price is $100.

SkyMap Pro will be coming to the iPad. You will have to buy a separate application for the iPad because the layout and images are different than the iPhone/iPod version. However the iPad app will be .99€ (about $1.25) for the first three months!

#20 Astrosetz

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 07:46 PM

I have been using my iPhone version of SkyMap Pro on my iPad and it works pretty well. I am sloop excited about the iPad version, and have been (im)patiently waiting for it.

Now if there was just a Skytools iPad app...:)

#21 Chris.Baron

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 12:03 PM

I've got Sky Voyager, Starmap Pro, Starwalk and a few others installed. However, I'm eagerly awaiting Astromist's release on the iPhone/iPad. I'll likely snag it too.

#22 mtnmedic

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Posted 22 May 2010 - 12:04 AM

I so cannot wait to get my 64GB iPad 3G!

#23 ilovecomets

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Posted 22 May 2010 - 06:34 AM

I so cannot wait to get my 64GB iPad 3G!


You're going to love it.

#24 mtnmedic

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 11:27 PM

I'd love to see Cartes du Ciel on the iPad but I doubt that'll ever happen. Or will it? Even more than that...I'd love a digital edition of Burnham's Celestial Handbook on the iPad. That's such an invaluable resource for me.

#25 beachchairbill

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 10:53 PM

Chris,

Which one do you like so far and when is Astromist do out?

BB


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