Sky & Telescope - January 2021 - 32

S&T Test Report

other moving objects in their images.
Activating Show Asteroids in the Solar
System menu makes it fairly easy to
quickly look them up. I cranked the
limiting-magnitude slider all the way to
its maximum setting, and despite many
more tiny dots appearing in the app, it
didn't seem to slow the performance of
the app much.
Having tons of objects isn't very useful, though, if you can't easily access the
one you want. The search function in
SkySafari is excellent. Touching Search
on the ribbon menu brings up a list of
object groups. For example, clicking Sun
& Planets opens up a list of our major
solar system denizens (including the 5
dwarf planets). Selecting Mars yields
a picture of the planet, a brief text
description (scroll the page up for much
more), and a set of options including
centering the planet on the app's display
and a Go To command that slews your
telescope to it if it's connected. Swiping
right brings up a page of detailed data.
If you don't feel like scrolling through
groups of objects, you can type the common name or designation of the target
of your choice into the search field at the
top of the screen. The app isn't finicky
about search terms; typing M1, M 1, or
"Crab," all returned the Crab Nebula,
Messier 1. Testing the search function on
less popular catalogs was equally impressive - every object I looked for in the
van den Bergh (vdB) catalog
came up immediately.

Diving Deeper
Prominent objects include
audio tours. These wellexecuted sound files give an

X Aligning your Go To telescope
with SkySafari Pro 6 is easy. Left:
After connecting to the mount,
select Scope on the ribbon menu
and then choose Connect And
Align. Middle: SkySafari then
instructs you to center four stars,
beginning with two in the east.
Right: When complete, SkySafari
gives Celestron users the option
of running the All-Star Polar
Alignment (ASPA) procedure.

32

JANUARY 2 021 * SK Y & TELESCOPE

ribbon menu. This brings up a context
menu with Object info and several
other options. I'd have preferred that
the context menu appear as soon as I
touched an object onscreen rather than
having to do an extra step.

Go To Control
S Simulation Curriculum offers an optional
Wi-Fi adapter to connect your phone or tablet
to a Go To telescope or mount. Some manufacturers sell their own adapters that work just
as well and, in some cases, even better. The
author used Celestron's SkyPortal WiFi module
to connect SkySafari Pro 6 to his telescope
mount, which completely replaces the mount's
Go To hand paddle.

overview of the selected target. Surprisingly, these aren't limited to planets and
Messier objects; many interesting deepsky objects from the NGC catalog also
feature these audio tours.
These professionally narrated audio
tours average about a minute in length
and do a good job of covering the basics.
They include details such as the location
of an object, its appearance in a telescope
or binoculars, and a little of the science
regarding it. They are so interesting that
I haven't yet grown tired of listening to
them and make it a point to find new
ones I hadn't encountered before.
You can also access an onscreen
object's information by touching it and
choosing the Selection option from the

Years ago I was showing my university
astronomy students how to use a paper
planisphere to identify the stars and
constellations, when one pulled out her
smartphone, held it up to the sky, and
said, "I can do that with my iPhone!"
Like my student's app, SkySafari Pro 6
can take advantage of a phone's built-in
accelerometer. Select Compass on the
ribbon menu, hold the phone up, and
the app will track the sky. Point toward
Hercules, for example, and that constellation will be centered onscreen.
If my smartphone were to become
the telescope hand control I'd imagined years ago, I'd have to connect it to
a telescope. The app can do that, but
exactly how depends on your particular scope or mount. The easiest way is
by using an instrument with built-in
Wi-Fi like Celestron's Evolution series
of Schmidt Cassegrain telescopes. But
if your telescope doesn't have Wi-Fi,
the company offers its WiFi III Wireless Control Package at additional cost
that will work with almost any recent
telescope mount or integrated system. It



Sky & Telescope - January 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Sky & Telescope - January 2021

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Sky & Telescope - January 2021 - Cover1
Sky & Telescope - January 2021 - Cover2
Sky & Telescope - January 2021 - 1
Sky & Telescope - January 2021 - Contents
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Sky & Telescope - January 2021 - Cover3
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