Author Topic: new tablet and SkySafare pro  (Read 508 times)

David Pee

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new tablet and SkySafare pro
« on: December 23, 2017, 09:43:29 PM »
This holiday season I will treat myself to a brand new tablet loaded with SkySarfare Pro.  Consistently used paper
Atlases and celebrity jumped up for this stage.  I still plan to star jump and I am pretty accomplished but I Only Want to try
doing it with a new toy.

I Would like to ask:

1.  What size pill is best in the telescope?
2.  Should I hand grip it or mount it to the extent?  ( a 12" dob)
3.  Do certain brands hold a charge or work better in the cold?  ( below zero possible in the winter)
4.  What specific techniques do you guys use to star jump using a tabletcomputer?

Plus some other questions I might not know to ask. .

I know there will be a learning curve but I am excited considering the change.
I'll appreciate all insights offered.



tioteyclasbeat

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Re: new tablet and SkySafare pro
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2017, 10:20:18 PM »
I utilize a Nexus DSC coupled wirelessly to my iPad.  It actually works well but I have encoders.

1.  I'd go for the larger size - my vision in red is less acute and a larger picture helps
2.  I'd mount it into the scope's mount using a Ram chunk and x-frame.  This way you can not drop it or an eyepiece
3.  I locate an iPad works well but it pays to keep it warm.  I think some of the dew-heater businesses provide something.
4.  I don't - Sky Safari works as a comprehensive, shifting star map that reflects where my scope is pointing.

Kyle Wood

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Re: new tablet and SkySafare pro
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2017, 01:12:36 PM »
Quote

Dave:

I have been using Sky Safari for about 7 years and I really like it.. I have it installed on my android smart phone which has a 5.5 inch screen, a 7 inch tablet, an 8 inch tablet and a 10 inch tablet.

My preference is for the 7 inch tablet, it fits in my hand so I can easily use it one handed. And it fits in a pocket so I can keep it with me and warm and out of the weather. The 8 inch is also doable, the 10 inch is just too big.  I don't want the tablet tied to the scope, I want to be able to have it with me, I sit on a chair with a pair of binoculars and the tablet figuring out a star hop or a region of the sky..

As far as certain brands, that's a moving target. I like the Nexus 7 (2013), they're still available on Amazon. It has the right sensors for the compass mode and it has a GPS.. Battery life is not a problem as long as it's charged at the beginning of the night.

How do I star hop.. Lots of nice things about a tablet running SkySafari 5 Pro.. It presents you with the sky correctly oriented for the time and location. I can can zoom in and out, I can change the magnitudes displayed for the scope and the conditions. Basically I use a Telrad and a 50mm RACI finder. Aligning the cross hairs of the finder with the altitude and azimuth axes of the scope is very helpful. I rotate the eyepiece until moving the scope in the altitude direction is aligned with a star. If the finder is mounted with the eyepiece horizontal or vertical, this is not necessary but most of the time, the eyepiece is at an angle.

Protecting your dark adaption is critical. There are a few Samsung Tablets with AMOLED screens that supposedly do not leak light when turned down but nearly all tablets and phones do leak light even when set to a red screen mode. This means that some sort of red screen filter is needed. It not only darkens the screen but it also increases the contrast so dimmer settings are possible. Myself, I wear red goggles with reading glasses attached to the inside. I don't need glasses for viewing the night sky so the goggles work great. I slide them up on my forehead when not in use, when I am using the tablet, I slide them down.. I always know where my glasses are.

At night, if you need reading glasses, you might find you need stronger than normal glasses. I use 3.25's, they increase the magnification.. So, rather than using a larger tablet, I use glasses that let me hold the tablet closer..

Jon

canreosenbi

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Re: new tablet and SkySafare pro
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2017, 02:44:30 PM »
This is going to be fun.
I have SS Plus on a 7" Nexus and it is good, but personally I would prefer to try a 5" screen out. Just find the tablet a little too big - but not by much. A 10" I simply would find too much.

Now I do use the thing at outreach and half my problem is or was carting it round in the case. Phone size screen fit in pockets, 7" tablets don't. Mine is used mainly as an outside source of information, as in How far is XXX away then?

If you get the Pro version then you will need memory, the Pro version is big and can slow things down. I opted for the Plus as it had much the same functions, just less stars and DSO's, but I doubt I will manage to see all 2.1 million stars before I fall over dead. Especially with the cloud cover I seem to have above me. And the Plus version is a fair bit less in cost. How many stars and DSO's do you want? Having 5 million stars that are too dim to see and slow down the tablet is not really useful.

Tony Patton

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Re: new tablet and SkySafare pro
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2018, 08:57:27 PM »
I have SS5+ on a 7" tablet and it is great.,mounted or held depending on the scope.,I've lately been using it for starhopping with the FOV circle and it doesn't get any easier.,SS5+ is the BEST $15 astro money I've spent.,

tersrhythopes

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Re: new tablet and SkySafare pro
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2018, 10:10:06 PM »
Quote
This holiday season I'm going to treat myself to a new tablet loaded with SkySarfare Pro. Always used paper
atlases and star hopping up to this point. I still plan to star hop and I'm pretty accomplished but I just want to try
doing it with a new toy.

I want to ask:

1. What size tablet is best at the telescope?
2. Should I hand hold it or mount it to the scope? ( a 12" dob)
3. Do certain brands hold a charge or work better in the cold? ( below zero possible in the winter)
4. What specific techniques do you guys use to star hop using a tablet?
 
Plus any other questions I may not know to ask..

I understand there will be a learning curve but I'm excited thinking about the change.
I'll appreciate all insights offered.

Dave,
I'm going to assume you don't have GoTo or push-to since you didn't specify.
The best size tablet is one that you are comfortable holding and viewing. I use an iPad Air II which is 10 inches. I have a mount that it can slip into, but more often than not I have the tablet in my hand and usually lay it on the table between uses.
Hand holding seems more natural to me because I can position it best for viewing and touching without regard to the position of my observing chair, but you need a place to put it down, you can't hold it all the time. A mounting bracket is pretty much de rigueur. You could break from the pack and mount it to your viewing chair!
I could be mistaken but Lithium Ion batteries are pretty much immune from the cold. Additionally, you could just keep it plugged in to a power tank. The real issue is the display. As devices get colder and our fingers become popsicles, the screens become less sensitive. I'd look for a display that specifies an operating temperature range that encompasses your predicted environment.
I have SS installed on two ten inchtablets and two six inch phones with one tablet connected to the scope via wifi so I don't actually star hop.
In addition to SS, I have an app called SkyWeek and another called Luminos. I use all three to plan what I am going to search for (SS has "Tonight's Best" in the search) and in what order I'm going to search. Once I've aligned my scope I simply select the target of interest and the scope slews to that target. Since it tracks for me, I am able to leisurely study the target at various magnifications.
SS does provide the information necessary to locate objects using setting circles I installed for whenever I want to go "primitive".
Not much of a learning curve at all, really. Explore the app and read the manual. There are a lot of helpful functions available that aren't obvious to the casual observer. The "Information" button will make you an instant expert on everything in the sky. Have fun!

Paul Cobb

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Re: new tablet and SkySafare pro
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2018, 12:04:10 AM »
Quote
This is going to be fun.
I have SS Plus on a 7" Nexus and it is good, but personally I would prefer to try a 5" screen out. Just find the tablet a little too big - but not by much. A 10" I simply would find too much.

Now I do use the thing at outreach and half my problem is or was carting it round in the case. Phone size screen fit in pockets, 7" tablets don't. Mine is used mainly as an outside source of information, as in How far is XXX away then?

If you get the Pro version then you will need memory, the Pro version is big and can slow things down. I opted for the Plus as it had much the same functions, just less stars and DSO's, but I doubt I will manage to see all 2.1 million stars before I fall over dead. Especially with the cloud cover I seem to have above me. And the Plus version is a fair bit less in cost. How many stars and DSO's do you want? Having 5 million stars that are too dim to see and slow down the tablet is not really useful.

A few comments:

- I have a phone with a 5.5 inch screen. It's usable but the screen is too small for effective star hopping under dark skies. My 7 inch does fit in many of my pockets, it even fits in my Walmart poloshirt pockets.

But what I do, is make sure that the coat or jacket I'm wearing has at least one deep pocket that the tablet fits in securely.

- The Pro does take up more memory but any tablet Dave buys should have more than plenty. And speed wise, the plus and pro versions are both about the same speed which is plenty fast. I also have a RCA 7 inch tablet, a $50 model that was on sale for $25.. it runs the pro just fine.

- The advantage of having the deeper databases of the Pro is in star hopping in the main scope as well as when using quite large scopes. In a specific region of the sky, the ability to have a chart the shows star fainter than 12 the magnitude is a help.

- $40:

$40 buys a Plossl, not a TeleVue Plossl but a good, Chinese 1.25 inch Plossl. Sky Safari Pro is a far more useful tool than anything else you can buy with $40.. the tablet, it'll cost $100, $200, I think my Nexus 10 was $400. Sky Safari Pro is a total bargain at $40.

Jon

llammenkudi

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Re: new tablet and SkySafare pro
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2018, 12:42:11 PM »
Hey, thank you fellas for the replies. A tablet that fits comfortably in one hand seems to be
the most practical size for use at the telescope.

I will need to get some kind of red filter......won't be goggles though...I use bifocal eyeglasses
to read maps/tablets and look at the sky through the Telrad. Those are on my forehead and red
flashlight around my neck so personal real estate is spoken for.

I really like the idea of using the degree circle feature. Really don't know if I need the Pro or if
Plus would be totally adequate. I wouldn't need it for the highlight reel of​what's up tonight​because
I can already just point to those and many more things from memory. The large data base seems
useful for things that paper atlases are weak at: comets, asteroids and the obscure target I may be
interested in.....I see Jon just posted again saying the Pro allows you to display stars beyond 12th mag.

Looks like everyone agrees this will be a fun experience. I've only resisted using a tablet at the scope
in the past because I was afraid it would take away from the simple dob experience I love. I've never
owned or wanted a goto or been into astrophotography.

Robert Bass

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Re: new tablet and SkySafare pro
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2018, 10:57:52 PM »
Dave:

The Plus would likely be sufficient. The Pro does have some nice additions, a more detailed moon map and the galaxy view are two that come to mind.

Jon

viogreetnifi

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Re: new tablet and SkySafare pro
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2018, 11:58:48 PM »
I did exactly what you are doing a few months ago, so here are my thoughts.

As to device, if you already have a cellphone go with the same ecosystem (Apple iOS or Android), as you can load the same Skysafari on both - you pay for the license and can load it onto any device that is on the same Apple or Google account. So, as a bonus you have Skysafari with you whenever you carry the phone. But, they treat the iOS and Android as different programs, so if you have an iPhone and Android tablet you will need to buy twice. I am very happy with my Samsung tablet and a nice case I got for it, will follow up with the models tonight when I am at home. Size is obviously a personal choice balancing weight versus screensize, but one thought might be that if you use the Jumbo PSA maybe you should go with a 10" tablet, if you are a regular PSA person then a 7" or 8" tablet may be big enough.

Plus versus Pro - I have both as I bought Plus and upgraded to Pro when it was on sale later. They are treated as two different programs so again you have to buy twice if you want both, but then you can have both loaded. The benefits of Pro over Plus AFAIK is (1) bigger database in Pro and (2) galaxy view in Pro. Of these, I am a newbie and still working through the Messiers and taking NGCs as "challenge" objects, so I have found absolutely nothing in the Pro database that is not in Plus. I do like the galaxy view, especially for globular clusters. But, one big advantage of Plus over Pro, at least on my phone (Samsung S7) and tablet (low end Samsung 8") is that the database lookup is significantly slower on Pro, maybe three or four seconds to retrieve an object versus a second or less with Plus. Only the database lookup is different, the UI is otherwise equally fast on both, but that is enough that my current approach is to use Plus for my at-scope atlas and have Pro also loaded for galaxy view.

If you have a cellphone now, I would get Skysafari if you do not have it already and learn to use it on there. I agonized over "wasting" money on a dedicated astronomy tablet since I have my work-supplied phone, but after making the switch the dedicated tablet is *much* better. Benefits: larger screen, ability to permanently tape on a physical red transparency (e.g. rubylith) overlay, ability to have only Skysafari and a few other chosen astro apps loaded (e.g. a calculator is nice), no worries about losing cell connectivity by draining my phone battery, possibly longer battery life without cell hardware (tablet is wifi only), no interruptions from cell calls or emails, and it is just nice to not have that icky feeling of mixing work with pleasure by using a work phone :-)

Skysafari works great without cell or wifi connection. This was a concern of mine in getting the tablet since most dark sites do not have WiFi and the tablet was WiFi only, but I have not had any issues where Skysafari stops because it needs Internet. Once installed it is self-contained. Of course, if you did want to use Wifi to control your scope it would need to be on, and there may be some functions that do require Internet, but I have not run across them. And, with Wifi and cell (if even on the tablet) being off, battery life is longer.

Skysafari does not need a high end tablet. I will follow up with the model I got, but it was the lowest end 8" tablet from Samsung and has worked great. The only argument for a better tablet might be to speed up the database search in Pro, or a better screen. But I have not noticed any problems with the low end screen, and really when dark adapted you are viewing with your rods anyway, so I suspect any better screen quality is lost at night. Memorywise, I have 16 GB on my tablet but I think 8 GB would be plenty as long as you are only loading Skysafari and a few other applications.

As others have mentioned, you will want to use the night mode (red on black) and add a red transparency (e.g. rubylith) overlay. Dim the screen as well, which also will extend battery life. I have not come anywhere near draining the battery over up to a three hour session.

Downsides versus paper atlas. This has been debated elsewhere on CN, but just from my personal experience, there are a couple. First, you can accidentally swipe the screen and move off your target, or press the wrong key, but those things will tend to go away as you get more muscle memory with the device. I have not used paper atlases much, but I suppose after a while with a paper atlas you get to learn the layout of different regions of the sky; with the tablet, the layout changes as you zoom in and out or move laterally, so perhaps that could be an issue. Lastly, even with the dimmed screen and red overlay, you can produce bright flashes that can compromise dark adaptation. Most common is bringing up the keyboard, which is dark on white so it is brighter than the red on black map view. You can also accidentally select the back button to go to the device home screen (this can be mitigated by using black wallpaper and having only necessary app icons on the home screen), or if you open another application.

Pluses versus paper atlas - again already discussed at length elsewhere, but I find the ability to zoom very convenient, the built-in object data and descriptions are fantastic (though the double star info in the data side has some inaccuracies), works great for outreach (e.g., show a globular and then go to galaxy view to show people where it is at, zoom into the FOV of the eyepiece so you can show visitors what they will be seeing ahead of time), and so forth. Search capabilities are fantastic, and if you take the time to learn how to use object lists it is even more powerful. The trick is, you have to use the advanced search to get the list of objects, then take the option to "Make Into Observing List" then go back to the observing lists and select it, and I think then you may still have to select list settings and check on "Highlight objects". Not entirely intuitive, but not too hard once you do it a few times.

Since you asked about star hopping, you want to go to Settings -- Telescope Display and under the Field of View Display Options check on "Show Even If Not Connected to Telescope" so it shows the FOV reticle. I have the 5 deg, 2 deg, and 1 deg circles all checked so the reticle shows those three, and the crosshairs and cardinal directions checked, which works well for me but you will need to experiment to get it the way you like it. I think you can customize those circle sizes if your finder has a different FOV. Then star hopping is easy, as you can see your RACI or other finder FOV superimposed on the screen.

contpeeresto

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Re: new tablet and SkySafare pro
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2018, 07:55:30 AM »
Quote
One advantage of a better quality tablet is that it's more likely to have a compass which is a necessity of you want to use the compass mode. The compass mode aligns the view of the tablet with the sky behind it. I find it handy but not necessary.

Jon

Cesar Rojas

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Re: new tablet and SkySafare pro
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2018, 08:21:42 AM »
Rob, Thank you for that well thought out, detailed response. Gives me a lot to chew on.

I don't have a cell phone or tablet yet....just plan on getting the tablet. My wife has both.
I'm the old fossel. We do have WiFi but not unlimited data. Hopefully SkySafari doesn't
doesn't use up a tremendous amount.

Leaning towards the Pro version at the moment.

Logan Budd

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Re: new tablet and SkySafare pro
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2018, 07:39:51 PM »
Quote
Rob, Thank you for that well thought out, detailed response. Gives me a lot to chew on.

I don't have a cell phone or tablet yet....just plan on getting the tablet. My wife has both.
I'm the old fossel. We do have WiFi but not unlimited data. Hopefully SkySafari doesn't
doesn't use up a tremendous amount.

Leaning towards the Pro version at the moment.

The wifi is merely the connection between your tablet and the scope. Similar to Bluetooth, but more reliable with greater range. It doesn't impact your wifi network at home.
I use an Orion StarSeek wifi control module on mine. It plugs into the hand controller and takes over the functions. If you don't have a hand controller then you can't connect SkySafari to your scope via wifi or any other means, really.

Jerome Fountain

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Re: new tablet and SkySafare pro
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2018, 12:19:04 AM »
Quote
Quote

Rob, Thank you for that well thought out, detailed response. Gives me a lot to chew on.

I don't have a cell phone or tablet yet....just plan on getting the tablet. My wife has both.
I'm the old fossel. We do have WiFi but not unlimited data. Hopefully SkySafari doesn't
doesn't use up a tremendous amount.

Leaning towards the Pro version at the moment.

The wifi is merely the connection between your tablet and the scope. Similar to Bluetooth, but more reliable with greater range. It doesn't impact your wifi network at home.
I use an Orion StarSeek wifi control module on mine. It plugs into the hand controller and takes over the functions. If you don't have a hand controller then you can't connect SkySafari to your scope via wifi or any other means, really.
Oh, I see what you are saying. I was thinking along the lines of updates though. Does SkySafari have
to download updates to function over time? It sounds like probably not. I doubt if I'll ever connect the
tablet directly to the scope. I want that job for myself so I can have fun participating.

Gary Eldridge

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Re: new tablet and SkySafare pro
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2018, 01:39:18 AM »
Dave:

You will probably want to keep it somewhat up to date. But many updates are small and you can always find a free hot spot for large updates.

Jon