Sky Chart Help


    The Sky Chart view is the primary screen of SkySafari. It consists of the Time and Location bar at the top, the main Sky Chart in the middle, and a Toolbar along the bottom.

    The first time your run SkySafari, the program will ask if you want to retrieve your current location using the GPS or network location capabilities built into your iOS or Android device. You can always change these settings later, using the main Settings view.

    Status Bar

    The status bar at the top of the screen displays the current date, time and location used by the application to depict the night sky. These values may be changed using the Settings view.

    After you tap on an object, the status bar also shows an object's common name, catalog number, magnitude, type, and constellation for a few seconds. You can get this information back by tapping the status bar again. You can still get more detailed information on the object by tapping the "Selection" button in the toolbar and selecting "Object Info", or by double-tapping on the object itself.


    The Toolbar contains buttons to bring up commonly-used functions and other secondary views used by SkySafari. These include Search, Object Info, Center, Orbit, Settings, Observe, Time Flow, Compass, Tonight, Night Vision, SkyWeek, Scope Control, LiveSky, Share, and Help. Android users can toggle the Toolbar by tapping the hardware Menu button on their device.

    Tip: On the iPhone, iPod touch, and Android phones with small screens, you can swipe the Toolbar left or right to access more items. A small arrow by the left- or right-most icon indicates there are more items in that direction. The Toolbar can be hidden by tapping the hide/show Toolbar button located above the left side of the Toolbar. Users of SkySafari on iOS can also change the icon order using the Appearance panel in the Settings.

    Sky Chart

    The sky chart shows an accurate depiction of the sky. The information displayed is highly configurable, and may be changed in the SkySafari Settings views. The sky chart shows the location of the stars, planets, and deep sky objects (star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies) as seen from your date, time, and location.

    Tap an object on the sky chart to select it. If there are multiple objects next to each other and the first tap selects the wrong object, tap again and SkySafari will select an alternate object nearby. Once you have selected an object, double-tap it (or tap the Selection button in the Toolbar and select "Object Info") to bring up the Object Info view. The Object Info view shows numerical data for the object, as well as English-language descriptions and images for many of the brighter objects in the sky.

    The horizon is shown with a customizable image that you change in the Settings > Horizon & Sky view. The cardinal directions (east, northeast, north, etc.) marked. Note: if the sky chart is using Equatorial coordinates (see Settings > Coordinates) the horizon will not be shown.

    Measuring Distance

    In SkySafari Plus and Pro, you can measure the distance between objects. Start by selecting an object you want to measure the distance from and then select "Measure From" by tapping the Selection button in the Toolbar. Tap on the object you want to measure to, and a line between your selected object and the object you initially selected will appear. The angular distance in the sky between the objects is shown at the end of the line, as well as the physical distance between those objects in space (if known).

    Tap anywhere away from the distance measurement line to dismiss it.

    Swiping and Zooming

    Touch the chart and drag to change the direction you are looking in the sky. You can pinch with two fingers to change the field of view shown in the chart. You can zoom the field of view from 180 degrees, showing you the whole sky at once, down to 0.1 arcminutes - about the average size of Mars as seen from Earth.

    You can also zoom in or out by touching and holding your finger down on the + and - sign in the lower right corner of the sky chart. This is much easier than pinching and zooming, especially when you're trying to zoom in or out by a factor of 100x or more!

    Coordinates and Field of View Displays

    The coordinates of the chart's center, and the width and height of the field of view, are displayed at the top of the chart. You can turn this feature on or off using the "Show Coordinates & FOV" option in the Settings > Appearance & Behavior screen.

    Popup Control Panels: In SkySafari Plus and Pro, tap the coordinates or field of view at the top of the sky chart to display a popup control panel which quickly lets you change these items.

    Tap the coordinates at the top left corner of the sky chart to quickly look north/south/east/west, to adjust the star or deep sky magnitude limits, or to change coordinate systems. Tap the field of view at the top right corner of the sky chart to quickly change the field of view from 1 to 180 degrees, show field-of-view indicator rings, and flip the chart horizontally or vertically to match the view seen through your telescope's eyepiece.