Selection Help > Object Info Help


    The Object Info view shows a variety of information about the selected object. It also contains English-language description and images of several hundred of the brightest and best-known objects in the sky. Swipe the Object Info view left to see the object data; swipe right to return to the description.

    On iPads and other tablets, images are displayed in-line with object descriptions. On phones or other devices with smaller screens, you can tap on image links embedded in the descriptions to show full-screen images.

    Buttons at the bottom of the view let you center the object in the sky chart, slew or align your telescope to the object, or - in SkySafari Plus and Pro - go into orbit around the object!

    Object Data

    The exact information displayed depends upon the type of object you have selected (e.g. a star, planet, deep sky object, etc).At a minimum, SkySafari displays the following information for the object you selected:

    • Names - the object's proper name, and any alternate names by which it is commonly known.

    • Catalog Numbers - the object's numerical designation(s) in the catalogs of stars and deep sky objects most commonly used by astronomers. The object's best-known catalog numbers are listed first.

    • Description - the type of the object, and the constellation that it appears in.

    • Apparent Size or Separation- how large the object appears in the sky, or the component separation for double stars; measured in arcminutes (') or arcseconds ("). The full moon appears about 30 arcminutes across. Double stars are typically separated by a few arcseconds.

    • Visual Magnitude - how bright the object appears in the sky; smaller numbers imply a brighter object. Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, is magnitude -1.44; the faintest stars visible to the naked eye are about magnitude +6.5.

    • Distance - the distance to the object, if it is known. For solar system objects, the distance is displayed in miles, kilometers, or Astronomical Units; 1 AU is the distance from the Earth to the Sun, or about 149.6 million km. For stars and deep sky objects, the distance is given in light years or parsecs. One light year, the distance light travels in a year, is about 63,300 AU. One parsec is the distance from which the Earth's orbit appears 1 arcsecond in radius, and equals about 3.26 light years, or 206,265 AU.

    • RA and Dec - the object's Right Ascension and Declination describe its position in the Equatorial coordinate system used with printed star atlases. The Equatorial coordinate system rotates with the Earth, so the object's RA and Dec do not change (unless the object itself is moving!)

    • Azimuth and Altitude - the object's coordinates in the local Horizon coordinate system describe its current position in the sky. As the Earth turns, the object appears to move across the sky, so these coordinates change even if the object itself is not moving.

    • Rise and Set Times - when the object appears on the horizon for the current local day. For the Sun and Moon, rise/set times are when the upper limb of the visible disk appears on the horizon. Depending on your current latitude, and the object's declination, the object may not set (e.g. Polaris seen from the northern hemisphere); or it may not rise (e.g. the Sun from Antarctica in winter). Due to varying atmospheric conditions and local horizon obstruction, rise/set times should only be considered accurate to about a minutes.

    • Transit Time - if the object is visible from your location on the current date, the transit time is when the object crosses the meridian and appears highest in the sky.

    • Angular Separation - SkySafari Plus and Pro show the object's angular separation and position angle from the Sun, from the last object you selected, and from the chart center.

    In SkySafari Plus and Pro, when you're in orbit around another solar system object, the Object Info view provides all information about an object as it is seen from your perspective in orbit. For example, it gives the constellation in which the object appears, and the object's visual magnitude and distance, as seen from your simulated location in space - not as seen from Earth.

    Events with a specific time have a small clock icon on the right. Tapping the clock will take you to that time and center the selected object, allow you to see the simulated event in the sky chart.

    Other Controls

    Along the top of the Object Info view you might see two buttons which let you play an audio tour for the selected object or listen to a pronunciation of its name. The audio tour and pronounce feature is only available for the brightest objects. Objects might have both an audio tour and a pronunciation available but not always.

    Audio Tour - provides an audio narration to learn the history, mythology, and science of the object. You can press the Audio Tour icon (looks like a speaker) to pause the narration. Please Note: this button is only present in SkySafari Plus or Pro and available as an in-app purchase (Cosmos Collection) in SkySafari.

    Pronounce - helps you learn how to correctly pronounce the names of hundreds of celestial objects from different categories such as stars, constellations and planets. Tap the underlined pronounce text icon on the top right of Object view screen to listen. Please Note: this button is only present in SkySafari with the purchase of the Cosmos Collection in-app.

    Along the bottom of the Object Info view are other buttons which let you center the object in the sky chart, go into orbit around it, slew your telescope to the object, or align the scope on the object.


    Center - this button centers the object in the sky chart. See the Center button Help for more information.

    If you are using your device's gyroscope or compass/altimeter, then tapping the Center button will not center the selected object directly. Instead, an arrow appears, leading you toward the selected object. Move your phone in the direction of the arrow to center the object in the field of view. When the object is centered, the arrow disappears, and your phone will be pointing toward the object's position in the sky.

    iOS Users Please Note: for best results with the compass, turn your phone sideways to landscape mode.

    Orbit - this button lets you leave Earth and orbit the object, if it's a solar system object. See the Orbit button Help for more information. Please Note: this button is only present in SkySafari Plus on Pro!

    GoTo and Align - If you have connected with a GoTo telescope using your mobile device's Wi-Fi or bluetooth capability, or with SkyWire, additional buttons appear. These let you slew (GoTo) the object with your telescope, or to Align your telescope on the object. See the Scope Control view for more information about this.

    Galaxy View - see detailed description below. Please Note: this button is only present in SkySafari Plus on Pro!

    More - Tap this button to:

    • Add the object to an observing list
    • Log a new observation of the object
    • View all your logged observations of the object
    • See all observing lists containing this object
    • Download a Deep Sky Survey (DSS) image of the object

    If you are adding an object to an observing list you only have one list, the object will be added to that list. If you have more than one list, SkySafari will let you choose which list you want to add the object to. See the Observing Lists Help for more information.


    Please Note: This feature is only available in SkySafari Plus and Pro.

    Galaxy View

    Please Note: This feature is only available in SkySafari Plus and Pro.

    Galaxy View helps you visualize the 3-D location of stars and deep sky objects. Using paired face-on and edge-on views of the Galaxy, it shows you where that cluster or nebula is actually located relative to the rest of the Galaxy - a three-dimensional perspective. The face-on image is an artist's rendition based on recent data from the Spitzer Space Telescope looking down from above the north galactic pole

    Objects in the left, face-on view are always drawn overlaid on the galactic disk so they will be visible. This does not imply the object is actually in the northern galactic hemisphere. You should consult the right, edge-on view to see which hemisphere the object is actually in.

    If Galaxy View is shown from the Object Info, the current object's location in the Galaxy is shown. You can also show the Galaxy view from the highlighted list's icon along the bottom of the chart. In this case, all objects in the highlighted list are show in the view. In either case, if an object is outside the current field of view, a blue line is drawn in the direction it will be found.

    Share: Takes a snapshot of the view that may then be shared with others through Email, Facebook, iCloud Photo Sharing, etc.

    Auto Zoom: If the selected object is outside the viewable area, this will will zoom out to make the object visible. If the selected object is very close to the Sun at the current zoom level, the command will zoom in to display the object better in relation to the Sun.

    More - Tap this button to bring up additional options, including:

    Show Spiral Arm Labels: Labels the various spiral arms in the Galaxy.

    Show Constellation Sectors: Divides the Milky Way galaxy in the neighborhood of the Sun into sectors, where each sector corresponds to the Milky Way constellation you would see when looking in that direction. Showing the constellation sectors allows you to better understand which part of the Milky Way galaxy you are looking at when observing within a particular Milky Way constellation.

    For example:

    When looking at the Milky Way in Sagittarius and Scorpius, you are looking at the next spiral arm inward from the Earth toward the galactic core at galactic longitude 0°. This spiral arm is appropriately called the Sagittarius Arm.

    Cygnus lies at 90° galactic longitude and looks lengthwise along our own spiral arm which is called the Orion Spur. This is looking in the direction toward which the Galaxy is rotating.

    When viewing the Milky Way in Auriga and Orion you are looking directly away from the galactic center, back through our own spiral arm. This is in the direction of galactic longitude 180°.

    Finally, the southern hemisphere constellation, Vela, lies near galactic longitude 270° and looks down an inter-arm gap in the direction from which the Galaxy is rotating as a whole.

    Center On Sun: Centers the view on our Sun's location in the Galaxy.

    Center On Selected Object: Centers the view on the selected object's location in the Galaxy.

    Reset: Resets the view to a zoom level where the whole Galaxy is visible.


    • Avatar
      Jose Luis Roldán Sosa

      Hi! In the object info, I see Apparent Motion (not explained here) and I see a speed (in “/day) and a direction (in degrees). What is 0° for that direction? I mean, what is the reference? Thank you!