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Astronomy phone apps - SkEye vs Stellerium vs Sky Safari vs others

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#1 rhetfield

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Posted 10 September 2019 - 02:20 PM

I have an android and currently have 2 apps:  SkEye and Vortex

 

Vortex is nice because it has augmented reality and shows pictures of the Messiers.  It does struggle at times with orientation and is a pain to get it to tell alt/az coordinates.  Also does not seem to have night mode.

 

SkEye has the nice calibration mode so it can be attached to the scope (not being used at the moment).  It also displays alt/az coordinates and field of view.  However it does not display pictures of the objects and needs to be manually updated for location.  It also seems to not have a huge library.

 

How much do I gain if I get Stellarium or Sky Safari and which is better?  Are there other options to consider?  At this point, I do not have a motorized mount and do not plan to use it to directly drive a scope.   



#2 vtornado

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Posted 10 September 2019 - 02:35 PM

I don't know about stellarium, but Sky Safari rocks over sky eye.

It is only a 7.00 bucks too, not a ton of money, I have v5 plus version.

Sky Safari basic is free right now.

 

These are the practical things I use all the time.

It has coordinates in alt-az,  which I use for my dob, and ra/dec - used for an eq mounted scope.

View circles so you can impose your finder/scope on the sky.

You can set the display to operate in Newtonian mode (upside down backward) or refractor (left-right) reversed.

Hundreds of objects have several pages of info on them with color photographs. (be aware the

 pics are astro photographs and although beautiful don't look anything like you will see visually,

  maybe the star clusters, but not the really faint stuff)

the database has thousand of objects (most invisible in light pollution )

Current events  and tonight's best are sent down

Has night mode.

 

If sky-eye does some of these things too, forgive me because I haven't used it since I switched serval years ago.

 

Everytime I use sky-eye on my nexus tablet it says magnetic anomally and then doesn't work. very well 
I have tried this in an open field 1/4 mile away from any metal, still the same thing. I have

tried callibrating the compass too

 

I have never used stellarium.


Edited by vtornado, 10 September 2019 - 02:41 PM.

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#3 sg6

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Posted 10 September 2019 - 03:00 PM

Skysafari is likely the winner, it is good.

Concerning the night mode I cannot stand it. Really dislike everything in red. So I will be the one everyone is muttering about.

 

Anyway Skysafari has a black background and not a lot is in white - stars, symbols and constellation lines. It is not a searchlight! To the best of my knowledge the Skysafari display has never fried a rod or cone in my eyes. Whereas I am sure a few red light head torches have.

 

Have Stellarium on my tablet and it is not good. The PC and the Phone version is different, as in produced by a seperate group/company so it does not match the PC version. In effect get Skysafari.

 

Suppose the phone is a factor - what size?

As said I use it on a tablet, 7", also it is version 5 Plus. The pro has more but it is a case of somethng like 3 million stars or 13 million - how many do you want ? The bigger package needs more memory and processing.



#4 wrvond

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Posted 10 September 2019 - 03:02 PM

Sky Safari all the way. It works great and the support is second to none.

SS6 is the current version.


Edited by wrvond, 10 September 2019 - 03:03 PM.


#5 jeffreym

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Posted 10 September 2019 - 03:06 PM

I have only experience with Stellarium and Sky Safari pro.  Stellarium is nice and easy and you can also get a version for your computer desktop, which I like.  I find it clean and easy to read in night mode, not overly complex graphics.  I use this quite often, depending on my needs.  My most used app is Sky Safari pro.  Very accurate and a super amount of detail.  It, of course has night mode and a bunch of other great features including storing all of your scopes and eyepieces so you can load whatever combination you are using and display the FOV on the star field.

Hope this helps.

Jeff


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#6 rhetfield

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 08:06 AM

I don't know about stellarium, but Sky Safari rocks over sky eye.

It is only a 7.00 bucks too, not a ton of money, I have v5 plus version.

Sky Safari basic is free right now.

 

These are the practical things I use all the time.

It has coordinates in alt-az,  which I use for my dob, and ra/dec - used for an eq mounted scope.

View circles so you can impose your finder/scope on the sky.

You can set the display to operate in Newtonian mode (upside down backward) or refractor (left-right) reversed.

Hundreds of objects have several pages of info on them with color photographs. (be aware the

 pics are astro photographs and although beautiful don't look anything like you will see visually,

  maybe the star clusters, but not the really faint stuff)

the database has thousand of objects (most invisible in light pollution )

Current events  and tonight's best are sent down

Has night mode.

 

If sky-eye does some of these things too, forgive me because I haven't used it since I switched serval years ago.

 

Everytime I use sky-eye on my nexus tablet it says magnetic anomally and then doesn't work. very well 
I have tried this in an open field 1/4 mile away from any metal, still the same thing. I have

tried callibrating the compass too

 

I have never used stellarium.

Hi all,

 

Thanks for the feedback.  It looks like the majority like Sky Safari over Stellarium and that may be the way to go.

 

 

 

To offer feedback on SkEye: 

 

It does display in both Alt/Az and ra/dec simultanously - cluttering screen a bit. 

 

It does not let you set up for your scope/eyepiece - but is does have circles as you zoom that show field of view. 

 

As long as I keep it away from my tube (duct taping it to the far end of my truss worked well the one time I tried it) I do not get the magnetic anomally message.  I had gone with the Skye because it offered the callibration mode.  My previous app would not point in the right direction (or even a consistantly wrong direction) no matter what. 

 

It does not automatically update location.

 

I have had it not always update time (programmer is looking into that for me).

 

It does not show what the DSO (or planet or anything else) looks like.

 

It does not show all the stars you see when you do finally get to a dark sky.

 

It is the last two things that has me looking into other options.  I did play around with taping the phone to the scope and doing the alignment and had some good results.  I have decided that I do just as good now that I have bought a bubble level and taped Alt/Az markings to the dob base.



#7 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 08:08 AM

I have Stellarium for the Android, Skeye Pro and Sky Safari 6 Pro, Plus and Basic for the Android.  I have been doing android since version 2.0 with the Motorola Droid.  I have made it a practice to try every Android astro app I could find.  

 

The short story is that Sky Safari is far and away the best. It has the best interface, the biggest databases, it's the most complete with extensive search and logging functions.

 

The longer stories:

 

- Stellarium Mobile:  It's a port of Stellarium for the desktop but very limited by comparison.  It's pretty but not very useful.

 

- Skeye:  The developer is a member of Cloudy Nights, Harshad. It's one man show and he has worked hard to develop the concept of using the phone as digital setting circles. Unfortunately, the compasses on the phones are just not capable of providing accurate pointing.

 

- Sky Safari Plus and Pro:  In my mind, the time line for Android planetarium apps is very simple, before Sky Safari and After Sky Safari.  Before Sky Safari there were a few apps but none were comprehensive and complete.  Planetarium for the Palm OS was more complete and despite the slow processors and limited memories was still my choice.  When I saw Sky Safari on an iPhone, I knew I was seeing the future.  I lobbied with the folks at SkySafari to port the app to Android.  It took a while for myself and others to convince them but they did port it and I was happy to be part of the beta development testers for the first version.

 

Sky Safari has just so many features and capabilities, it's difficult to list them all.  The search functions are powerful.  For example, I can search for every double star in Bootes between magnitude 1 and 7 with a separation between 1.5 arc-seconds and 6 arc-seconds.  I can turn that search list into an observing list and then choose to highlight the objects on the list so when I look at the chart view, the star is circled.  I can do this with galaxies, globulars, whatever.. 

 

I think the Plus databases are fine for most observers, for someone with a large scope, the deeper databases of the Pro version are preferable. 

 

There is extensive data for each object and for many there's a discussion  of the object, often with observing suggestions... 

 

Jon


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#8 TelescopeGreg

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 10:52 PM

My only complaint about SkEye is that, with the exception of the Solar System and Messier catalogs, it's database is often missing the targets I'm going after.  It'd be just about perfect (for what I use it for) if it had a more complete NGC catalog, and also added IC.

 

Fortunately, the GoTo on my scope (Celestron AVX) is complete enough, but for planning purposes I like to use the Time Machine setting and wave my phone around during the day to see if the target is going to be behind a tree, near the Moon, etc.  I can't do that if the object's not in the database.



#9 lambermo

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 05:23 AM

For me SkEye works really well. I use it on my scope to make it an accurate push-to scope.

I also have Sky Safari but find myself not using that at all.



#10 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 06:28 AM

My only complaint about SkEye is that, with the exception of the Solar System and Messier catalogs, it's database is often missing the targets I'm going after.  It'd be just about perfect (for what I use it for) if it had a more complete NGC catalog, and also added IC.

 

Fortunately, the GoTo on my scope (Celestron AVX) is complete enough, but for planning purposes I like to use the Time Machine setting and wave my phone around during the day to see if the target is going to be behind a tree, near the Moon, etc.  I can't do that if the object's not in the database.

 Do you have the Pro Version?  It has the entire NGC and IC catalogs... 

 

https://play.google....eyepro&hl=en_US

 

"• The complete NGC, IC catalog with a powerful object filter"

 

Jon



#11 TelescopeGreg

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 12:07 PM

 Do you have the Pro Version?  It has the entire NGC and IC catalogs... 

 

https://play.google....eyepro&hl=en_US

 

"• The complete NGC, IC catalog with a powerful object filter"

 

Jon

Ha!  Thanks.  I didn't know about the other version. 


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#12 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 12:23 PM

Harshad is a hard worker but not the best at self-promotion.. 

 

It's only $6.. I always try buy a paid version of the freeware apps I actually use. At $6, that's darn cheap. 

 

Jon


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#13 dongallo

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 06:03 PM

The absolute most important thing to look for in astronomy software for Android, iPhone, Windows, Mac, Linux, or uncle bob eyeglass OS is the deepsky database. Software that plots just the NGC/IC should never even be remotely considered. Good software even for beginners needs to go beyond the NGC/IC catalogs. Mellote 111 is very beautiful naked eye. CR 399, the coathanger cluster, is beautiful in binoculars in downtown Manhattan. Dark nebulae are treasures in 6 inch telescopes in country skies. Good astronomy software has to plot all of these, king, melotte, collinder, Abell, PK, Barnard, DoDz, RU as well as the NGC/IC. That rules out Skeye or Stellarium. Sky Safari is by far my favorite app. It has a great database to really explore the sky from binoculars, 80mm refractors, 6 inch dobs to 32 inch dobs, no matter if you have been in the hobby for 10 seconds or 100 years. It will grow with you. Its great for working on AL certificates including logging or sitting in a lawn chair with binoculars. It is my favorite software on any platform. 


Edited by dongallo, 12 September 2019 - 06:04 PM.

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#14 rhetfield

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Posted 13 September 2019 - 08:37 AM

Is there a push-to app similar to SkEye for the I-phone?



#15 aitke12

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Posted 18 September 2019 - 10:45 AM

I have SkySafari6 Pro and its works wonders on my Note 8. 



#16 Pogo007

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Posted 18 September 2019 - 08:57 PM

Another +1 for SkySafari 6 but have to say I use Plus, not Pro, since Plus gives me everything I need.

Also use AstroPlanner to plan my viewing indoors in advance.


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#17 Arthur NY

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Posted 18 September 2019 - 10:01 PM

I have Stellarium, but don't use it much at all. It's fine though.

 

SkySafari is quite good. I picked up the pro version on sale last year I think.
In addition to the sheer volume of targets—essentially everything is there—other features make it a real winner for me:

 

I do all my planning of sessions there. Lists are easy to make and save. They can be arranged in a wide variety of ways, rise or set, magnitude, RA, etc...

The scope displays are really handy. It's great to know what a scope/eyepiece combo or scope/camera combo will look like on a given part of the sky or on a target.


Edited by Arthur NY, 18 September 2019 - 10:02 PM.

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#18 ldcarson

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 08:44 AM

I have sky safari pro for iOS and have been disappointed with its lack of controlling/connecting to mount.  If I had known, I would not have bought it.  Now I use Stellarium and have no issues....Us iOS users are told a fix is coming and months go by.....



#19 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 07:27 AM

I have sky safari pro for iOS and have been disappointed with its lack of controlling/connecting to mount.  If I had known, I would not have bought it.  Now I use Stellarium and have no issues....Us iOS users are told a fix is coming and months go by.....

 

What mount are you using?  I read here of many using iOS with good success on many mounts. 

 

jon



#20 Bjorg63

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 08:02 AM

I have been using Skysafari for a few years, currently skysafari 6 pro. I have it on my android phone and android tablet. As others have said it has many features, those listed above are some of the best.

 

I also like how well I can control settings such as star mag and deep sky object mag. You can get the view in the app to be nearly identical to naked eye visual to orient your FOV before looking through the scope. Then you increase the mag to match what you see in your finder scope or finder low mag eye piece. This is very helpful for push to scopes and even go to scopes when your scope doesn't exactly line up on that very faint galaxy you so desire to observe.

 

Finally the app keeps a history of the objects you search. This is helpful for note taking and logging the next day.

 

I have stellarium on my laptop, but I dont use it as much as skyfari on my tablet. I have not used the other apps you mention.

 

I started with skysafari basic, then quickly upgraded to pro. I always pay for the new upgrades too. Support the developers. They provide a great service.


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