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How To Initiate A StarSense Auto-Alignment Using SkySafari 6 iOS + SkyFi 3 - Is SkySync GPS Required Or Just Use StarSense Hand Control? (Solution: Align Via StarSense HC, Then Connect SkySafari 6 Pro Via SkyFi 3 - No SkySync GPS Required)

Thanks for the great products!

Apologies for a similar re-post. I've found several old and new posts about questions similar to this, but I am having trouble figuring out what is possible and what exactly to buy.

My goal is to set up the *simplest* possible auto-aligning telescope setup for my friend's Celestron NexStar 8SE -- he is not great with handhelds, etc.

I am hoping that he can use the SkySafari 6 Pro iOS application as a single point of control to perform all the following functions:

  1. Set the date/time/position in StarSense (from iOS, not by typing in via Hand Control)
  2. Tell StarSense to auto-align itself (from the SkySafari iOS app, not via the Hand Control)
  3. Then control the telescope (from the SkySafari iOS app)

My plan is to buy the following things for him:

  1. StarSense
  2. SkyFi 3
  3. SkySafari Pro 6 for iOS

Will that support full setup and alignment via SkySarfari iOS?

Or will I need to buy other things like Sky Sync GPS and/or SkyPortal WiFi? Some posts suggest that some functions are possible via SkiFi 3 while other functions are possible via SkyPortal WiFi.

You guidance is much appreciated!

-- DanJ


  • 1
    Bill Tschumy


    If you want to use SkyFi which connects through the hand controller, then you have to initiate the StarSense alignment from the hand controller.  It is the hand controller that has the alignment model.  SkySafari will just talk to the hand controller, issuing commands.

    You could buy the Celestron SkyPortal WiFi module and then you can kick on the StarSense alignment from SkySafari.  However, then you can't use the hand controller for anything.  I find that the biggest weakness of using the SkyPortal module.  If you go the SkyFi route, you can use either the HC or SkySafari and everything stays in sync.


  • 0
    Daniel Jakubiec

    Thanks Bill!  That explanation is starting to make much more sense to me now.

    So regarding the step where I need to input the time/location via the HC... two more questions please:

    1. If I am using SkyFi 3 (auto-aligning via HC), I am assuming that I would need to purchase the Sky Sync GPS module in order to skip the input step.  Is that correct?
    2. If I am using Celestron SkyPortal (auto-aligning via SkySafari iOS), will SkySafari provide the time/position from iOS on its own?  Or do I still need to purchase the Sky Sync GPS module to skip the step?

    Thank you!



  • 1
    Bill Tschumy

    1. No, SkySafari will set the time & location for you.  It send a command to the HC upon connecting.  Because this info is probably important to StarSense, it might need to be set before doing a StarSense alignment.  So he can connect and immediately disconnect and then do the StarSense alignment.  The HC remembers your location and time so this is really only necessary if the scope has been moved more than (say) 50 miles.

    2. The SkyPortal code will do the same thing.  It will set your time & location based upon your phone or tablet.

  • 0
    Daniel Jakubiec

    Thank you Bill, sounds good.  Will try it out!

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