Scope Control View
The Scope Control view lets you connect to your telescope and control it. Before connecting, select your telescope type and communication options in the Settings, under Scope Setup. By default, SkySafari's uses a "Demo" telescope. This is a dummy virtual telescope that lets you to use the controls without having a real scope connected. To connect to a real telescope, choose the telescope type and communication parameters in the Settings.
Please note: you can't use SkySafari's telescope controls when you are orbiting another object in the solar system. To use them, first return home to Earth. See the Orbit button Help for more information.
Connecting and Disconnecting
After setting up your telescope in the Settings, tap the Scope button in the toolbar to show the Scope Control view at the bottom of the screen. The Scope Control view contains a button which lets you connect or disconnect from the scope.
Connect: This button opens a connection to your telescope. If you're using an iPhone, iPad, or iPad touch with our SkyWire serial accessory, then SkySafari will use SkyWire for telescope communication. If you are using an Android device with a paired bluetooth serial adapter, then SkySafari will use bluetooth for telescope communication. Otherwise, SkySafari will use Wi-Fi for wireless telescope communication.
Connect and Align: This button only shows when connecting to a Celestron WiFi telescope. Tapping it will connect and then guide you through an alignment process. The type of alignment can be chosen in the Telescope Setup > Setup and Control settings screen.
Once you've connected, this button's title will change to Disconnect. Tapping it will end your telescope control session.
Before tapping the Connect button, make sure you've selected the correct telescope type and communication options in the Settings. Make sure the scope is powered on, and any necessary alignment procedures are completed. Consult your telescope manual for details on the scope's alignment procedure.
After connecting, the sky chart is centered where SkySafari thinks the scope is pointing, as reported by your telescope. If this is wrong, your telescope is probably not star-aligned correctly.
While you're connected to a telescope, the Compass or Gyro button in the toolbar will be turned off. The sky chart cannot be centered on the telescope, and centered on the compass, at the same time.
Slewing and Aligning
Once your telescope is connected, arrow buttons appear on the sides of the screen. The status bar expands to show the scope's coordinates and target object. The arrow buttons let you move the scope directionally. A motion rate slider appears, to ket you control how fast the directional motion occurs.
The other buttons in the Scope Control panel are now active, too:
GoTo/Stop: This button issues a "GoTo" command to your telescope, which will physically slew it to the coordinates of the currently-selected object in the sky chart. To select an object in the sky chart, tap on it, or use the Search view.
While a GoTo is in progress, this button's title changes to "Stop", and pressing it will issue a command to stop the currently-in-progress GoTo. You can use this as an "emergency stop" if the telescope is in danger of hitting something, or if you have accidentally slewed to the wrong object.
Note that not all telescopes support GoTo commands, and that you cannot GoTo an object which is below the horizon.
Align: This synchronizes the scope to coordinates of the selected object. The bullseye indicator in the sky chart shows where the telescope thinks it is pointing. If that appears incorrect, the scope and the software must be synchronized. To do this:
- Physically point the scope at a real star in the sky, using SkySafari's arrow buttons or the scope control panel. Center the object in the eyepiece.
- Select that same object in SkySafari to make it the current target object. Do this by tapping the object in the sky chart, or by searching for it by name.
- Tap the Align button.
Lock/Unlock: Tapping this button keeps the sky chart centered on the telescope's position. Moving the telescope will cause the sky chart to move, following the telescope's motion.
Notes on Alignment
Note: for Celestron NexStar, Orion/SkyWatcher SynScan, iOptron GOTONova, and ServoCAT telescope controllers, tapping the Align button stores the offset between the telescope's reported position and the selected object's position. It subtracts that offset from the telescope's reported position whenever the telescope is within 10 degrees of the object you Aligned on. In other words, SkySafari performs a "local sync" around the alignment target. If you move the telescope to a very different part of the sky, you may want to Align on a target in that part of the sky. Also note that the telescope's RA/Dec reported by SkySafari will differ from the RA/Dec reported by its hand controller (since SkySafari is applying the alignment offset to the telescope's reported position.)
Note: for encoder-based "Push-To" systems, like the Tangent Instruments BBox, Celestron Astro-Master, JMI NGC-MAX, and Orion Intelliscope, SkySafari now lets you perform a 2-star alignment. This eliminates the need to level your telescope mount base. Simply set up your telescope, point it at the first alignment star, select that star in SkySafari, and tap "Align". Repeat the process with a second alignment star, choosing "Align" rather than "Restart Alignment" when asked. Your encoders should now be aligned to the sky. You can continue to align on additional second stars; but SkySafari only uses the two you most recently aligned on. If you want to forget the pervious alignment stars and align as your first star, choose "Restart Alignment".
Make sure your two alignment stars are at least 10 degrees apart; 90 degrees apart is ideal. SkySafari will warn you if your alignment stars are too close together, or if their positions don't match - for example, if you've accidentally selected the wrong alignment star in SkySafari, or you're not really pointing the telescope at that star in the sky.
SkySafari remembers the telescope's alignment until you quit the app, so you should not have to realign if you disconnect (or are accidentally disconnected) from the encoder control box. However, if you accidentally kick the telescope mount, or otherwise destroy your alignment, you can realign without having to quit SkySafari. To start over, point the telescope at a star, select the same star in SkySafari, and tap Align. When given the option, align on the star as the "First Star". That will reset SkySafari's alignment process and start it over with the star you just selected.
Going to a specific RA/Dec
Normally GoTo will take you to the coordinates of the selected object. To go to specific coordinates rather than the selected object, press and hold the GoTo button in the scope control view until you see a small RA/Dec panel pop up onscreen. Fill in the RA and Dec you want and tap GoTo in the panel. The coordinates may be entered using either decimal format or as HH MM SS.S for RA and DD MM SS.S for Dec.