Using Skeye with telescopes and binoculars

Astronomy software or computer hardware that you need to help get a good nights viewing
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rwilkinson
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Using Skeye with telescopes and binoculars

Post by rwilkinson » Fri Jun 06, 2014 7:23 pm

Bill and I have been looking at the Skeye app-program for Android portable devices:
http://lavadip.com/skeye/
The software makes use of the magnetic sensors and accelerometers in the portable devices to estimate where they are pointing as they are moved, and includes the provision to "sync" to an object once you've got it centred in the eyepiece. This is designed for hand-held devices, but we were wondering if it would be accurate enough to help finding faint objects with magnifying instruments (e.g. the BBT)?

To try it out, I've loaded it onto my Nexus7 which can be fitted as a "head-up display" on my binocular mount:
headupbinos.jpg
Nexus7 running Skeye as an aiming aid for binoculars, sync-ing to the Moon
headupbinos.jpg (194.76 KiB) Viewed 9720 times
(unfortunately, I'd need a special pair of "upside-down bifocals" to switch between looking at the screen and through the eyepieces!)

Meanwhile, Bill has devised a mounting for his Galaxy smartphone on the side of his 80ED telescope:
galaxyphonemount.jpg
Provision to mount an Android smartphone on an EQ3-2 mount
galaxyphonemount.jpg (250.91 KiB) Viewed 9720 times
Has anyone else used this or other similar software to help locating objects through optical instruments, and if so how did you get on?

jpinna
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Re: Using Skeye with telescopes and binoculars

Post by jpinna » Sat Jun 07, 2014 1:44 pm

Ross I've tried it in the past with skymaps, but the map jumped all over the place when my nexus7 was at the mount, but now I use sky safari pro and that seems stable and I can sync to scope with it and don't need the hand controller to goto, I just have to touch the screen where I want the scope to go and off it goes. I'm quite lucky as my mount head is a box so I just Velcro my 7 to the mount head.
I only do it this way if I'm at the mount, but if I'm doing it remotely from inside the house I take the 7 inside with me and control it from there.
P1010535.JPG
P1010535.JPG (157.5 KiB) Viewed 9704 times

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rwilkinson
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Re: Using Skeye with telescopes and binoculars

Post by rwilkinson » Sat Jun 07, 2014 7:21 pm

jpinna wrote: I use sky safari pro and don't need the hand controller to goto
No John, that's not what we're after: we've already proved control of Celestron and SkyWatcher GoTo mounts using SkySafariPlus over a BlueTooth link (see the March edition of The Bolton Astronomer).
But the aim here is to try SkEye's "Virtual DSC" or "Indirect mode" as a finder-scope and Push-to guide on non-computerised mounts (e.g. Dobsonians). This is critically dependent on the performance of the accelerometer and magnetic sensors in the portable device, but there are some suggestions in the SkEye manual on how to better calibrate them: http://lavadip.com/media/SkEyeIntro.pdf

jpinna
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Re: Using Skeye with telescopes and binoculars

Post by jpinna » Sat Jun 07, 2014 9:24 pm

Sorry Ross, I must read the posts more carefully, or should I say,I read it but it didn't sink in.

dean_kos

Re: Using Skeye with telescopes and binoculars

Post by dean_kos » Sat Jun 07, 2014 9:34 pm

I have done this before, when I first got my c8 with the non computerised vixen mount ...... Simply velcro'd my iphone to my scope and used star map pro to find objects...... Worked quite well as I remember

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Re: Using Skeye with telescopes and binoculars

Post by rwilkinson » Sun Jun 08, 2014 7:52 am

Well, I managed to try it out last night, and it looks promising.
I had some clear sky between 10:30 and 10:45. It was still quite light then, but I was able to Align my binoculars on the Moon and Saturn and then find Spica (which was too faint to see with the unaided eye). Then after I added alignments to Vega and Polaris I was able to navigate the entire sky, even though it was still too light to see the constellations with the naked-eye.
The pointing accuracy was good enough to get targets in the wide-field of my 7x50s, but probably wouldn't be adequate for a 'scope with higher magnification - however it could be used to get the targets into the field of the finder-scope, which could then be used to refine the pointing for the main OTA, in the usual way.
And it's a great way of learning your way around the sky: the basic SkEye includes all stars above 8th magnitude, all the Messier objects and the brightest NGCs, and there's a Pro version with more detailed catalogues too.

Here's how I added the "head-up display" to my binocular mount:
headupbinos2.jpg
Nexus7 mounted with 7x50 binoculars
headupbinos2.jpg (330.43 KiB) Viewed 9692 times
I used wood, plastic & aluminium, with brass fittings, to avoid upsetting the Nexus magnetic sensor.

Amartin

Re: Using Skeye with telescopes and binoculars

Post by Amartin » Tue Jun 10, 2014 9:01 pm

I 2nd the shout for Skeye -I've been using it for a few years now & it's the best software I've used across android & IOS - just my opinion of course!
Cheers
Andy

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