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Phone app to locate stars

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#1 COLTONK

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 05:36 PM

I'm hoping someone can help... I'm fairly new with my celestron 8SE telescope and having some issues doing the two star alignment.. I use skeye and stellarium apps on my phone to locate the stars name while doing the alignment and it always fails... I think it's because the app is giving the wrong name Even though I've checked the settings to make sure location is correct... I see one inherent issue is trying to point the phones camera at a section of sky with several stars close to each other can lead to the wrong star... I'm hoping there is an app out there that shows a view of the sky as seen through the phone camera and then give the name of the star that has cross hairs or some other means to pinpoint the star your phone camera shows.. Having the phone screen show a somewhat transparent view of a star map that you could overlay on the phone display with the actual sky would also be helpful..

Does anyone know of any phone app similar to what I am describing.

Colton

#2 wrnchhead

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 06:33 PM

I recommend two because both of them fufill different needs I think what you need is SkyView. I also have to recommend Stellarium because the one thing that Skyview doesn’t do is allow you to scroll around the sky it only shows where you have your camera pointed.

It is pretty straightforward to use

Edited by wrnchhead, 22 July 2019 - 06:33 PM.

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#3 trurl

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 06:40 PM

I doubt there are any apps that actually use the phone camera for finding anything in the sky. Probably a phone camera by itself isn't able to pick up any stars at all. All the apps I am familiar with use other sensors on the phone to figure out where you are pointing it.



#4 MikeHC8

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 06:50 PM

I like SkySafari and Skyview.  These both help myself a lot.  I don't care how it locates but transparent screen with stars in the background helps me be a better at my hobby.  The real stars are on the display with background stars.  These programs will help a lot when locating constellations, planets, stars and asteroids plus much more.

 

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#5 wrnchhead

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 06:50 PM

Yeah, I meant that axis. The axis of the phone camera. I stated that awkwardly. 



#6 IMB

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 06:55 PM

There's no better device to identify bright stars than a planisphere.


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#7 N3p

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 07:07 PM

I agree with IMB

 

And learning the sky manually I think it's great and rewarding.


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#8 COLTONK

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 08:14 PM

I appreciate all the great advice from everyone .. Not sure what a planisphere is but will have to look it up.. Since I'm new to this I need some help until I can learn the constellation and stars.. I'm going to try sky view and see how it is for starters..

#9 N3p

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 08:44 PM

It's a hobby of observation, you can take your time and look at the stars, use a tool such as this one bellow and identify the constellations. It's fun to memorize the bright stars and the position of the various constellation. The cellphone might be great but the screen is bright and harmful for the dark adaptation even in red night mode, I prefer not to use it at all, only the planisphere with a dim red light. 

 

After, you can find deep sky objects even in light pollution with much more ease. It's an invaluable skill to develop I think.

 

https://www.davidcha...es-star-charts/

 

(You need to pick the closest planisphere for your latitude.)


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#10 Mike91977

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 01:31 AM

I recommend Sky Guide App for iPhone and Android. It doesn't control a scope like Sky Safari or SkyPortal, however its a lot easier to use and more accurate at location stars or anything in the night sky including satellites etc. Plus it plays cool background music for stargazing, and lastly I think there is a free version but the paid version is 2.99

 

https://apps.apple.c...#?platform=ipad

 

https://play.google....ky guide&c=apps


Edited by Mike91977, 23 July 2019 - 01:36 AM.

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#11 sg6

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 03:37 AM

Couple of points here, well to me.

First is that Celestron uses a lot of possible alignment stars, and many are a bit odd. Odd as in for some reason not obvious ones.

Another is that if you track down the list each has a month against them. I suspect that Month takes precedence over what to us would make more sense. I have never worked out why they select Algieba in preference to Denebola or Rugulus.

 

I think there is a method to override the selected/offered star and pick your own. Again my experience is that not all are offered. I was stood outside one night withw a Celestron CPC 1100 with a nice bright high Vega and not being offered to use it as an alignment star.

 

You need to find out how to scroll uo and down the list of offered alignment stars - actually think all you do is press the Up or Down button and the next one is displayed, but only 75% sure.

 

Next you need to just get outside and work out about a dozen of the bright stars.Vega, Deneb, Altair, Arcturus, Capella, Pollux+Castor, Caph, Alpheratz, Aldebaran, Betelgeuse, Rigel, Sirius, Procyon, Denebola, Regulus.

 

Not all are visiable at present but you will need some idea of the presently available ones (Easy = Vega, Deneb, Altair, Arcturus). Then the idea is you stand there with the scope, identify say 5 that you can see and when the alignment star is presented you scroll up/down and pick ones you can see. You will not have time to read the offered one, then hold a phone/app up to work out which one it is and where it is.

 

Meade I think got the alignment star eaier. No month just big bright standalone stars, often red ones - Arcturus and Aldebaran - they stand out very easily. You center the big bright red one in the middle. Hopefully you would have some idea which the big bright one is.

 

Celestron have I think a Bright Star alignemnt - you aim at and center any 3 bright ones, reasonably well apart and the scope works out the likely 3 and does the rest.

 

There is a lot of manual input in a computerised automatic scope. grin.gif grin.gif grin.gif

 

App: Skysafari, the Plus version is easily adaquate.

Planisphere, easy does not need batteries. Does need 2 paperclips shocked.gif (Stops the 2 bits rotating)


Edited by sg6, 23 July 2019 - 03:40 AM.

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#12 Bowlerhat

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 04:51 AM

+1 with skysafari. Been using it for years both in android and ios.

 

I don't think they use the wrong name for stars, especially with obvious bright alignment stars. I suggest learning how to read asterisms and constellations first. 


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#13 Andynator

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 05:34 AM

The alignment program will only choose the brightest star as visible in your finderscope. First make sure it is well aligned. Then, when the scope slews to the first target, pick the brightest target and align to that. Then adjust through the eyepiece.

What I am trying to say is, don't over-think it. The alignment isn't trying to confuse you by showing a star field with multiple targets and testing you to pick the right one. You can get a good startup alignment with only a rudimentary grasp of the constellations and a few common stars.

+1 on the planisphere.

#14 COLTONK

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 10:18 AM

I believe the celestron manual 2 star alignment allows you to choose your stats for alignment



Couple of points here, well to me.
First is that Celestron uses a lot of possible alignment stars, and many are a bit odd. Odd as in for some reason not obvious ones.
Another is that if you track down the list each has a month against them. I suspect that Month takes precedence over what to us would make more sense. I have never worked out why they select Algieba in preference to Denebola or Rugulus.

I think there is a method to override the selected/offered star and pick your own. Again my experience is that not all are offered. I was stood outside one night withw a Celestron CPC 1100 with a nice bright high Vega and not being offered to use it as an alignment star.

You need to find out how to scroll uo and down the list of offered alignment stars - actually think all you do is press the Up or Down button and the next one is displayed, but only 75% sure.

Next you need to just get outside and work out about a dozen of the bright stars.Vega, Deneb, Altair, Arcturus, Capella, Pollux+Castor, Caph, Alpheratz, Aldebaran, Betelgeuse, Rigel, Sirius, Procyon, Denebola, Regulus.

Not all are visiable at present but you will need some idea of the presently available ones (Easy = Vega, Deneb, Altair, Arcturus). Then the idea is you stand there with the scope, identify say 5 that you can see and when the alignment star is presented you scroll up/down and pick ones you can see. You will not have time to read the offered one, then hold a phone/app up to work out which one it is and where it is.

Meade I think got the alignment star eaier. No month just big bright standalone stars, often red ones - Arcturus and Aldebaran - they stand out very easily. You center the big bright red one in the middle. Hopefully you would have some idea which the big bright one is.

Celestron have I think a Bright Star alignemnt - you aim at and center any 3 bright ones, reasonably well apart and the scope works out the likely 3 and does the rest.

There is a lot of manual input in a computerised automatic scope. grin.gif grin.gif grin.gif

App: Skysafari, the Plus version is easily adaquate.
Planisphere, easy does not need batteries. Does need 2 paperclips shocked.gif (Stops the 2 bits rotating)



#15 wrvond

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 11:02 AM

Sky Safari works very well. Additionally it has an 'AR' or Augmented Reality function that overlays your actual surroundings as seen by the phone's camera on the sky map. This makes it easier to locate or identify exactly what star you are looking at.



#16 Sean Wood

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 12:36 PM

The issues lies in that the your phone's gyro and magnetic compass are being distorted by magnetic interference. Even if you're out in a field away from any metal sources there are even geological features under ground that can emit strong enough magnetic forces to throw off your phone's "compass". You can calibrate it somewhat by waving your phone around several times in front of you in a figure 8 motion and flipping the phones screen screen facing up and down while in the process. This allows the sensors to read the weaker magnetic forces from multiple angles and then the software that produces the data from the sensor gets corrected to the stronger magnetic north. See the video posted below.

After you do that you'll nee a noted difference in accuracy. IF you start noticing it drift again simply do the calibration motion again.

https://www.youtube....h?v=J_cZnPcW-Yw

 



#17 spacemunkee

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 01:07 PM

I'm surprised it took this many responses for someone to mention calibrating the phone. I know sometimes when I've used the sky portal app just to see if something might be in trees or not for me, it won't even be anywhere close to correct. Calibrate, and that's more like it!

As far as having the right star, I've thought sometimes aligning with camera and sharpcap that I had the right one. But seemed like it should probably be brighter. A little more panning around, and yep, wasn't right. Not even close as bright!

#18 Orion68

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 01:22 PM

Couple of points here, well to me.

First is that Celestron uses a lot of possible alignment stars, and many are a bit odd. Odd as in for some reason not obvious ones.

Another is that if you track down the list each has a month against them. I suspect that Month takes precedence over what to us would make more sense. I have never worked out why they select Algieba in preference to Denebola or Rugulus.

 

I think there is a method to override the selected/offered star and pick your own. Again my experience is that not all are offered. I was stood outside one night withw a Celestron CPC 1100 with a nice bright high Vega and not being offered to use it as an alignment star.

 

You need to find out how to scroll uo and down the list of offered alignment stars - actually think all you do is press the Up or Down button and the next one is displayed, but only 75% sure.

 

Next you need to just get outside and work out about a dozen of the bright stars.Vega, Deneb, Altair, Arcturus, Capella, Pollux+Castor, Caph, Alpheratz, Aldebaran, Betelgeuse, Rigel, Sirius, Procyon, Denebola, Regulus.

 

Not all are visiable at present but you will need some idea of the presently available ones (Easy = Vega, Deneb, Altair, Arcturus). Then the idea is you stand there with the scope, identify say 5 that you can see and when the alignment star is presented you scroll up/down and pick ones you can see. You will not have time to read the offered one, then hold a phone/app up to work out which one it is and where it is.

 

Meade I think got the alignment star eaier. No month just big bright standalone stars, often red ones - Arcturus and Aldebaran - they stand out very easily. You center the big bright red one in the middle. Hopefully you would have some idea which the big bright one is.

 

Celestron have I think a Bright Star alignemnt - you aim at and center any 3 bright ones, reasonably well apart and the scope works out the likely 3 and does the rest.

 

There is a lot of manual input in a computerised automatic scope. grin.gif grin.gif grin.gif

 

App: Skysafari, the Plus version is easily adaquate.

Planisphere, easy does not need batteries. Does need 2 paperclips shocked.gif (Stops the 2 bits rotating)

Good post. My older Nexstar 11 GPS does use Vega as the first alignment star during the summer months, which makes sense to me. I have noticed what you are saying with my CG5 ASGT, where some obvious choices are ignored - go figure.



#19 COLTONK

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 05:05 PM

Thanks Everyone... I really appreciate all the help and advice.. I should be able to go out this weekend and try again.



#20 NYJohn S

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 06:08 PM

COLTONK, When using any phone app I find it’s best to point your phone towards a section of the sky and zoom out rather than trying to pinpoint a single star. Hold you phone at a distance and try to match up the brightest stars. For instance if you look to the East you should see 3 Stars brighter than the others. Vega, Deneb & Altair, The Summer Triangle. Once you match up the brightest stars in any part of the sky you can use the app to figure out the other stars. Next to Deneb is Sadr further out and fainter is Albireo. Soon you’ll be learning sections of the sky and you’ll recognize the brightest stars without the app. The app will help you confirm what you are looking at and learn the star names.

Good luck!
John
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