SkySafari 3

Discussion in 'iOS Apps' started by Qaanol, Aug 18, 2012.

  1. Qaanol macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2010
    First of all, SkySafari 3 is my favorite augmented-reality star gazing app. It has a huge catalog of stars, great zooming ability, lots of settings to customize the experience, and really nice graphics.

    However, there’s one issue I’ve noticed, and I’m wondering if others have found it annoying too.

    When I point SkySafari straight up (at the zenith) or straight down (at the nadir), the display becomes highly sensitive to tiny wobbles, and the stars spin around at the slightest tilt. I find this a problem because it means, in the vicinity of those directions, I cannot count on what I see on the screen to be in the same direction as where the stars actually are in the sky.

    In every other direction SkySafari works great and tiny shakes don’t affect it much at all. But straight up and straight down act differently, to the point where the display often is rotated significantly from reality.

    Anyone else have this experience?
  2. TJ61 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 16, 2011
    I see the exact same thing in SkySafari 3 (thanks to you pointing out when SkySafari was free in a recent thread!). I also see this behavior in StarMap Pro, so I think it's a systematic problem with reconciling accelerometer and compass data.

  3. Qaanol thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2010
    Well, it might be easier to program that behavior, but if you try SkyView Free you’ll see there is another way to do it, where there are no discontinuities in the view.

    In fact, SkyView makes it so that, no matter how you spin or rotate the phone, the horizon stays horizontal, North stays North, and in general the phone acts as a “window” to the sky in exactly the direction it points.

    Of course, SkyView is much worse feature-wise than SkySafari, but in this one particular aspect I think it has a far superior behavior. With SkyView, all directions are “equal”, in the sense that a sphere is truly symmetric, and there are no discontinuities at the poles the way there are in SkySafari.

    In particular, if you are lying on your back looking up at the sky, using an app to determine which stars you can see, SkyView’s approach means you can hold the phone pointing straight up at the zenith, and no matter which way you move or twist it, you’ll always see on screen exactly what is really behind the phone.

    Knowing this is definitely possible, it’s exactly the behavior I would expect from an augmented reality app. That makes it all the more grating when a program as detail-rich and full-featured as SkySafari has this one flaw right at the top of the sky.

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