Favorite planet/star gazing app?

Discussion in 'iPad Apps' started by Mountainbikermark, Mar 26, 2011.

  1. Mountainbikermark
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    Mountainbikermark iPad Addict

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    Ive got Star Chart but am wondering if Star Walk or any others are better working or do more than Star Chart
    What's you favorite app for stellar viewing
    Thank you

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  2. tzimisce
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    tzimisce iPad Addict

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    I like Star Walk because it's easy to use, but I also have Luminos and GoSkyWatch.
  3. Mtnmedic
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    Mtnmedic iPad Junkie

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    Ahhh...this thread is right up my alley!. I'm an astronomer. I have several related apps on my iPad. The best ones are, IMHO:

    StarWalk, which you already know about.

    StarMap HD - Very nice planetarium app with lots of features including basic scope controls.

    Sky Safari - this is perhaps the best of the batch. Also has the tools to control your telescope using the vendor's wireless and wired in-between devices. I use my iPad to control both my 10" Meade LX 200 Classic and 5" Celestron NexStar 5i (using the wireless adapter) at star parties. VERY accurate.

    MoonPhase - I think this one is free. GREAT app which gives you all you want to know about lunar phases, rise/set times of the Sun and the Moon, transitional data, etc. Has a great calendar, too.

    Buzz Aldrin HD - Free. His portal to all things Space, NASA and so forth. Great app.

    Observatory -I think it's 99 cents or $1.99 but you can't beat it. BEAUTIFUL app. Very simple: astronomy-based clock with all kinds of information about when just about everything in the solar rises/sets, based on your location, plus some other cool stuff. Just gorgeous.

    APOD (Astronomy Photo of the Day) - Free. GREAT! Every day a new, beautiful photo from space-based and ground-based telescopes plus other associated photos is presented. You can go back to see past images and get info about them. I have it on my EVO 4G Android phone and it's used there as a daily changing wallpaper app. This is a MUST-HAVE if you're into astronomy and space.

    NASA HD -Free. All things space and astronomy. Info on all the missions. NASA TV is streamed live, which is uber cool.

    Stellarium - another quality planetarium app that's accurate and free. THIS app is also free for Windows PCs and Macs (which has a few more features). Get 'em both! Gorgeous. Lots of features.

    Go StarGaze - excellent app with all things amateur astronomy with resources to find clubs, info about the hobby, etc.

    SkyWeek (from Sky & Telescope, one of the two longest-running and best astronomy magazines) - Free. Excellent app that gives you info on what's going on throughout the month, night sky event-wise, which also shows you the sky chart for that time in your area so yo know what to look for and where.

    ScopeTools - I think it's free but I might have got it on a special. At most it's 99 cents. Great little tool if you have a telescope. Provides conversion tools, eyepiece info, etc. iPhone app but works fine on iPad.

    Clear Sky Chart - Free. This is a MUST HAVE if you've a telescope and you need something to give you some kind of reasonably accurate projection of what the darkness, transparency and seeing conditions are going to be like for the coming 24-48 hours in your area.

    If you're interested in our nearest star, the SUN, this is an AWESOME free app: 3D Sun. Cool news, pics and vids of everything happening at the Sun, with alerts, too.

    Other great apps:

    Moon HD -Free moon map app

    Mars Globe -Free Mars map app

    Solar Walk -GORGEOUS educational tool!

    Planets

    3D SkyOrb -also another beautiful educational tool

    Cosmic - this is new. I don't know if it's free still. But another planetarium/mapping app with what I believe to be basic scope control features, too.

    Michael "Spam, spam, bacon, eggs and spam. Hold the bacon and eggs." Sent from my iPad using iPF
  4. Tim SPRACKLEN
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    Tim SPRACKLEN iPad Legend

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    Many thanks for that great review. I really appreciate the time and trouble that you took to put it together.

    Tim
    Scotland
  5. Mtnmedic
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    Mtnmedic iPad Junkie

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    My pleasure, Tim. I have all of those apps plus a few more. And I use them all! :p

    You'll be happy to know that...

    Star Walk will display the app out onto an external monitor or TV via VGA and HDMI adapter on the First Gen iPad (the app won't mirror on the iPad but you will still be able to control the display using the iPad).

    NASA TV streaming in the NASA app will video-out via VGA and HDMI on the iPad 1

    StarMap HD and Sky Safari both mirror beautifully using VGA and HDMI on the iPad 1

    These apps will all mirror out nicely with the iPad 2, from what I've understood thus far about using the HDMI adapter with it (my iPad 2 isn't here yet, but should be soon!).

    Scotland, eh? My old Fire Department chief is from Bannockburn. My great-great grandfather on my dad's side is from Achnaim, I believe. Another relative is from Tayside and two from Ireland. (My mother's side of the family is Czech/Russian and my ex is Russian. Go figure.) :) I've never been there but I know it's beautiful. If I ever get the money and the opportunity to travel across the pond, that's where I'll go! I'm a HUGE fan of the Scottish Ambulance Service and have followed them since the 80s. I even maintained correspondence with some of their staff in interest of working there as a Paramedic on a transfer or exchange basis. Learned a lot about them in the process. I have friends in England who are ambulancemen with St. John, Merseyside and London Ambulance plus one who owns a private Paramedic service in London.

    SCOTLAND FOREVER!

    Michael "Spam, spam, bacon, eggs and spam. Hold the bacon and eggs." Sent from my iPad using iPF
  6. Jman09
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    Thanks Mtnmedic for the app list and reviews. After taking an Astronomy course for one of my University science classes, I've always had an interest in Astronomy. I have Star Walk on my iPhone now, and getting some of these others for the iPad.
  7. Mtnmedic
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    Mtnmedic iPad Junkie

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    You're welcome! I never took astronomy classes when I was in school (I pursued emergency medicine), but I did teach myself and I did, in fact, teach an astronomy class at my high school when I was a senior there.

    BTW: a GREAT website you should check out is www.cloudynights.com - lots of reviews of gear, books, etc., a marketplace of private ads for astronomy stuff and...go to the FORUMS. I've been with them for many years. 50,000 members, 180,000 topics of anything you can possibly imagine. This is THE place to go for beginners, intermediates, advanced and PROS to share, yak it up and so forth.

    Michael "Spam, spam, bacon, eggs and spam. Hold the bacon and eggs." Sent from my iPad using iPF
  8. Mtnmedic
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    Mtnmedic iPad Junkie

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    Forgot to mention RED SHIFT. $11.99 but it's EXCELLENT. Also one of the best of the batch.

    Michael "Spam, spam, bacon, eggs and spam. Hold the bacon and eggs." Sent from my iPad using iPF
  9. Tim SPRACKLEN
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    Tim SPRACKLEN iPad Legend

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    I hope you get the chance to come to Scotland. I've been here for 25 years - I was originally from England. It's a lovely place to live - just wish the weather was better. At least we get to see the Northern Lights up here most winters where I live - about half way between Aberdeen (NE coast) and Inverness (near Loch Ness). It's a rural area - no urban lights to destroy the night sky!!

    Again - thanks for the two reviews and copious information you provided. If you don't mind, I'd like to bookmark this thread and refer other members to it so they can read your review if we get any queries.

    Tim
    Scotland
  10. Mtnmedic
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    Mtnmedic iPad Junkie

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    I've no trouble with that, mate. I hope it helps others.

    Yeah, I know about your area. I've seen plenty of video, pics from relatives and so forth. I wold love to see the Grampian Highlands and Invernessshire. Parts of Scotland officially count as some of THE darkest night sky on landmass in the world, great for astronomy albeit the bouts of dreary weather.

    Of course the absolute darkest night sky is in the middle of ocean at least 150 miles offshore. Nice, but I think I'll pass, for obvious reasons. Besides, I drown better than I swim.

    Michael "Spam, spam, bacon, eggs and spam. Hold the bacon and eggs." Sent from my iPad using iPF
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2011
  11. Hasty
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    Hasty iPad Ninja

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    That dark sky is the hardest thing to find now.

    The most awesome night skies I ever saw were in the andes between Argentina and Chile. Simply overwhelming........mind you breathing was hard too.

    Great list kudos.
  12. Mtnmedic
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    Mtnmedic iPad Junkie

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    Oh yeah. Second on my list of destinations is South America. Particularly Puma Punko in Bolivia. I hear Chile and Uruguay are nice.

    Michael "Spam, spam, bacon, eggs and spam. Hold the bacon and eggs." Sent from my iPad using iPF
  13. Mountainbikermark
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    Mountainbikermark iPad Addict

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    Thanks Michael. My sister recommended Star Walk is all I know about it.
    I've got SkyOrb already but it has been buggy with the free vs premium part. It keeps reverting me back to the free one,I've got to delete it,reinstall it for it to work right.
    When I was single I used to get my telescope out just about every clear night and the colder the better. Since I met my wife my telescope is in the shed at the back but I'm trying to get back into gazing again, but don't know how serious I'll get this time. 12 years is a long time to be away from a hobby.
    Anyway I use Google Sky on my Incredible and want to make use of the bigger screen on the iPad. Sky orb and Star Chart are both buggy( Star Chart keeps losing the gps fix) so I want something that is going to work without hassle. Like I wrote,Google Sky works without any hassle so I'm spoiled by it and want an iOS type version of it. Maybe the compass on the iPad isn't as quick as the Incredible but what I have seems to take a second or 2 to follow me and though it's smooth it's behind my movement and is a bit disconcerting
    Thanks again


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  14. Mtnmedic
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    Mtnmedic iPad Junkie

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    Hmmm...I haven't had much trouble with Sky Orb but it isn't exactly the smoothest running app, though it's quite nice to look at. Perhaps it'll be better with the iPad 2?

    I use Google Sky on my EVO 4G and I like it. I use it in a pinch or for casual gazing when I'm sharing with someone else.

    Of all the astronomy mapping/planetarium apps available, I use Sky Safari the most.

    Give Stellarium a try. It's available for iPad as well as Mac and PC.

    For "serious" star charting (and you can use it for telescope control) with a PC or Mac, use Cartes du Ciel. Totally free. It's accurate stuff and a wonderful tool. If they ever came up with an iPad version, I would use THAT primarily on it.

    Michael "Spam, spam, bacon, eggs and spam. Hold the bacon and eggs." Sent from my iPad using iPF
  15. Mountainbikermark
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    Mountainbikermark iPad Addict

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    Thanks again, loading stelarium now, that looks more what I'm looking for and can use Skyorb for more info. I like it best for specific searches, Star Chart last night had me doing a full 360 circle to find anything, then it turns out was in the center to begin with.
    Edit; that's exactly what I was looking for and more , plus it's idiot proof , exactly what I need . I can get my kids involved without spending lots if time trying to figure out how to use it
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    Last edited: Mar 27, 2011

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