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Best astronomy apps for iphone and android?

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#51 Markovich

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 06:48 AM

You can select the magnitude limit for comets and other minor bodies as well in Sky Safari. Additionally, you can also see a reticle projection on the map that shows you field of views through your eyepiece or finder ( like a Telrad).
I have both Star Map Pro and Sky Safari Pro and I agree both have advantages. For example I slightly prefer the Star Map Pro display of the sky better, but Sky Safari has a MUCH better interface and is easier to use.

#52 weezy

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 07:20 AM

It worked very well out in Utah self contained. I don't feel like paying roaming data charges.
I still have a working Sony Clie, which does have Astromist on it.

BTW @arpruss - the text on the moon map is too small. If you have seen Astromist, then you have seen the interactive moon map. I had it on the Palm, so it should be doable on Android.

#53 ilovecomets

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Posted 29 September 2011 - 11:21 AM

Just happened upon this thread and thought I would comment. I have owned a iPhone and iPad for about a month now and have downloaded tons of apps, freeware and not.

Hands down, best app for iOS is Sky Safari Pro. It is worth buying an iPad just this app.

:like:

#54 Micheal

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 02:01 PM

I just found this thread after doing a search for Android apps for Astronomy. I would say that if there was something as amazing as Sky Safari that communicates with Skyfi to control a telescope AND it was written for an Android phone like the Samsung Galaxy S2 or forthcoming S3 I would buy it in a heartbeat. I am so sick of Apple products.

/I have 2 iPhones(3gs and 4) & 2 iPads (version 1)

#55 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 06 October 2011 - 01:42 PM

I just found this thread after doing a search for Android apps for Astronomy. I would say that if there was something as amazing as Sky Safari that communicates with Skyfi to control a telescope AND it was written for an Android phone like the Samsung Galaxy S2 or forthcoming S3 I would buy it in a heartbeat. I am so sick of Apple products.

/I have 2 iPhones(3gs and 4) & 2 iPads (version 1)


According to Bill T of Southern Stars, they are working on Sky Safari for the Android, hopefully it is just around the corner. Any news Bill?

jon

#56 btschumy

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Posted 06 October 2011 - 04:28 PM

Making slow but steady progress. If all goes well we should have something before the end of the year.

#57 weezy

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 07:40 AM

Nokia's working on a replacement for S40. Supposed to be Linux. If it works, and can either run Palm like the N900 or someone can do something with open source Stellarium, bye-bye Android. (I don't like Apple products.)
http://arstechnica.c...atured Content)

#58 psonice

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 08:15 AM

A low-end system aimed at cheap phones for developing markets? That doesn't really sound like a promising OS for astronomy software!

Plus, that's what the 3rd linux-based OS nokia has announced. None of them have been successful (or even much good), not a good track record. Nokia are going with windows phone 7 for their 'serious' phones (which should be announced in the next few weeks I think).

#59 Ciprian

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 09:32 PM

Yes, according to Nokia's CEO: First Nokia Windows Phones Coming Within Weeks.

Finally, after the release of OS version 7.5 (mango), it looks like Microsoft may have a chance on the mobile phones market.

As far as I'm concerned, mango finally exposed access to compass API and ability to combine XNA with Silverlight in one app. That means that we've added a full point to sky feature to our SkyMap for windows phone app and we're going to release a new version with XNA (improved, 3d style) map rendering.

#60 arpruss

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 02:49 PM

A low-end system aimed at cheap phones for developing markets? That doesn't really sound like a promising OS for astronomy software!


One doesn't need that much power for serious amateur astronomy apps. Witness PalmOS apps like Planetarium, Astromist, 2sky or AstroInfo.

#61 arpruss

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 02:51 PM

Making slow but steady progress. If all goes well we should have something before the end of the year.


That would be absolutely wonderful. It would mean that I probably wouldn't need to finish the app I started. (I got distracted from it, among other things by working on improving the APV PDF viewer--I needed a good PDF viewer.) And then all I'd need is a good ebook viewer (I have requirements that none of the Android ones fit--and so I am still stuck with Plucker on PalmOS), and I could switch from PalmOS.

#62 Micheal

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 03:41 PM

Making slow but steady progress. If all goes well we should have something before the end of the year.


Awesome! You also should work on a Windows 64 bit version so I can get Sky Safari for a Windows 8 tablet :)

#63 Jim7728

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Posted 16 October 2011 - 08:28 AM

Making slow but steady progress. If all goes well we should have something before the end of the year.



Very interested in the Sky Safari app, but don't want to invest in a Ipad. An Android version could push me over. :cool:

#64 btschumy

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Posted 16 October 2011 - 10:12 AM

We've just put up a web page that spells out what is happening with the Android version. A video shows the Android version doing scope control via bluetooth.

http://www.southerns...roid/index.html

There is also a link for signing up to be notified when the Android version is available.

#65 arpruss

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Posted 16 October 2011 - 10:37 AM

That's great news about the Android version.

I was thinking of giving up on my open source project in light of expected SkySafari availability, but $60 to get a decent amount of stars (I need at least 5 million stars to have the eyepiece view match the display well enough for finding faint stuff) is a little too much, so I may yet go back to the project.

On the other hand, I know I can't match SkySafari's features in general and certainly can't make anything as pretty, and for the vast majority of users the $15 version will be good enough, so maybe I should just shell out the $60 and spend my time on other projects (like APV, which seriously needs bookmarking and highlighting).

Questions:

Is the 2.5 million stars in the Plus version just the Tycho-2 catalog, or is it a better catalog with a uniform magnitude limit imposed? Back when AstroInfo only had Tycho-2, I found it really frustrating that Tycho-2 didn't have a uniform magnitude limit, so sometimes I would see in the eyepiece two nearby stars, and Tycho-2 had the dimmer of the two but not the brighter one.

Are the catalogs in SkySafari Plus or Pro user-expandable? Or at least can one add one-time custom objects?

Can one save memory by not installing nebula textures, etc.?

#66 helpwanted

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Posted 16 October 2011 - 11:38 AM

can you get a star atlas as deep as you want for $60... and have it either controll your scope, or follow the scope (if push to)... my point is $60 is a great price... you can spend more on a date night with the wife for a dinner and movie!

#67 arpruss

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Posted 16 October 2011 - 01:35 PM

can you get a star atlas as deep as you want for $60... and have it either controll your scope, or follow the scope (if push to)...


If you need scope control or DSC support... But I have no go-to or DSC based scope. So all I need is a deep enough star atlas, and AstroInfo does that for me.

While I don't need scope control or DSC support, I wouldn't mind support for N-star alignment of analog setting circles. Does SkySafari have that? (Astromist and AstroInfo for PalmOS do.) I couldn't find it in the manual, but I didn't read all of it.

The $15 Plus version is great functionality at a great price. The $60 Pro mainly adds a bunch of data, most if not all of which I assume is freely available. If the app allowed users to extend catalogs (does it?), there would be no need to buy the Pro version at all.

That said, unless I make something that satisfies my needs (or someone else makes an open source app that does), I'll probably end up buying the Pro version, since it does look really good.

#68 btschumy

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 11:34 AM

That's great news about the Android version.

Questions:

Is the 2.5 million stars in the Plus version just the Tycho-2 catalog, or is it a better catalog with a uniform magnitude limit imposed? Back when AstroInfo only had Tycho-2, I found it really frustrating that Tycho-2 didn't have a uniform magnitude limit, so sometimes I would see in the eyepiece two nearby stars, and Tycho-2 had the dimmer of the two but not the brighter one.


No, it is the standard Tycho 2 catalog, warts and all. It would be a lot of effort to extend the catalog with more stars. Of course, for the sake of uniformity, we could arbitrarily exclude stars beyond some mag (say 11.5), but I doubt that is what most people would want.

Are the catalogs in SkySafari Plus or Pro user-expandable? Or at least can one add one-time custom objects?

Can one save memory by not installing nebula textures, etc.?


No and No. I think is is pretty darn rare that someone would need to add an object. The most common need for that is for a new comet, but we download all the later elements from multiple sites so I think that is not generally needed.

The textures are only loaded on demand. So if you don't want them taking up memory, don't enable that option (deep sky images, panoramas, realistic Milky Way, etc).

#69 btschumy

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 11:37 AM

While I don't need scope control or DSC support, I wouldn't mind support for N-star alignment of analog setting circles. Does SkySafari have that? (Astromist and AstroInfo for PalmOS do.) I couldn't find it in the manual, but I didn't read all of it.


We currently do 2 star alignment. The code supports N-star alignment but we don't currently enable that feature. It would require some additional user interface and testing that is not in our short range plan. We will definitely enable it in the future though.

#70 arpruss

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 11:51 AM

No, it is the standard Tycho 2 catalog, warts and all. It would be a lot of effort to extend the catalog with more stars. Of course, for the sake of uniformity, we could arbitrarily exclude stars beyond some mag (say 11.5), but I doubt that is what most people would want.


Or you could supplement with UCAC3, and then cut off magnitude at something moderately high like 12.0. I think it would be better to miss out on some of the dimmer stars than to have non-uniform coverage, but others might disagree with me.

I think is is pretty darn rare that someone would need to add an object. The most common need for that is for a new comet, but we download all the later elements from multiple sites so I think that is not generally needed.


I've had one recent occasion when I needed a custom object: the supernova in M101. I ended up spending 1.5 hours before the observing session adding a custom object option to AstroInfo for that reason. :-) (OK, I could have brought a printed finder chart, but I've never used printed charts for star hopping. Plus the option may be useful for other things.)

Another usage case is this. I'm on the deepskyhunters list, and people from time to time post coordinates of intriguing uncatalogued objects. It would be nice to be able to enter one of them as a custom object.

Depending on whether you have catalog numbers for all the faint stars in your large star database (in AstroInfo, I regret to say I stripped out catalog numbers past a certain magnitude to save memory), there may also be cases of variable star observations where one would benefit from entering a custom object. Say, some star unexpectedly brightens and you get an AAVSO bulletin about it.

I also don't see in the manual any mention of M31 clusters. If those aren't there, they would make a nice addition (e.g., the Hectospec M31 catalog).

#71 arpruss

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 11:54 AM

We currently do 2 star alignment. The code supports N-star alignment but we don't currently enable that feature. It would require some additional user interface and testing that is not in our short range plan. We will definitely enable it in the future though.


That's great. My experience with my 8" dob on a rather imperfect mount is that often three or four star (or, more generally, object--I sometimes align on M33 or the core of M31 or a planet) are needed for analog setting circles to work well all around the sky.

#72 btschumy

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 12:12 PM

Apruss,

With respect to custom objects, you can always enter an RA/Dec to center on or GoTo. Maybe not the perfect solution since you need to remember the RA/Dec, but it will get you there.

#73 arpruss

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 12:47 PM

With respect to custom objects, you can always enter an RA/Dec to center on or GoTo. Maybe not the perfect solution since you need to remember the RA/Dec, but it will get you there.


I used to have just an option to center the screen on an ra/dec in AstroInfo as a stop-gap measure, but it's not great for star-hopping. For star-hopping, you may need to start several FOVs away from the object and to compare fields of view to what the scope is showing in the eyepiece, so you may need to zoom in so much that the object isn't showing. But you still want the app to point in which direction you should be moving the scope (I assume SkySafari points to an off-screen object in some way to help with star-hopping), as you carefully move the scope and scroll the screen in sync, and you want the object to show up on the screen when you scroll to the right FOV.

For go-to, all you really need is to be able to enter the RA/dec and center on it.

#74 gmartin02

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 07:37 PM

I just got my Droid 3 today! I can hardly wait until SkySafari is released on Android.

Greg

#75 Mary B

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 11:35 PM

I got a Droid 3 earlier this month and love it. You want a program called ring guard to prevent turning the ringer off by accident. I use Skeye on mine a lot.


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