Well, it has been a LONG time in coming, but there is finally an update to both TheSkyHD (for iPad) and TheSky Mobile (for iPhone) on the Apple iTune store. There's a handful of fixes and tweaks in both apps, but what I'm most excited about is that TPoint is now built in to the apps and is automatically enabled when you connect to a Paramount over WiFi (WiSky board is required for this).
For TheSkyHD for iPad: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/thesky-hd/id715615994?mt=8
For TheSky Mobile for iPhone/iPod Touch: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/thesky-mobile/id843373213?mt=8
If you don't have a Paramount... well, perhaps it's time to upgrade ;-)
So what good is TPoint on an iPad? Well, this solidifies the idea that with one of the iOS apps you have a first class hand controller for a Paramount for visual or "lite" imaging purposes.
We could of course just build a dedicated hand controller for those who object to iOS... but it would cost you about what an iPod Touch would cost. I'll let you do the math on that a moment if you need...
With the TheSky on iOS you can do a rough polar alignment after homing the mount on any object in the sky (even during the day). Then just center objects/targets in the eyepiece and add it as a pointing sample. Every sample you add improves pointing accuracy, even if your polar alignment is lousy.
But wait, there's more!
ProTrack is also turned on by default, so in cases where you aren't well polar aligned targets are still going to stay in the eyepiece longer than they would normally. In fact, for one of my early tests, I aligned on the sun during the day, slewed to Venus and added it as my first sample. Every 20 minutes I'd recenter Venus and add it as a sample again. It didn't take long and Venus stopped wandering out of my eyepiece and by the time it was dark, I already had a good model started (some more points elsewhere in the sky also further improved things).
One little caveat about ProTrack... you have to stay connected to the mount with TheSky running in the foreground, otherwise the mount corrections do not get processed and sent to the mount.
TPoint is pretty hidden really, when you connect to the mount it is automatically activated and will ask you if you want to reuse the current pointing data, or start over. You can continue adding points for up to 24 hours of starting a new model, but there is no editing, no super model, no files to load/save, etc. This is all transparent, and intended for mobile/portable visual users.
Now... if you really wanted to push the limits, you could create a model with several points all over the sky, and let ProTrack kick in. A DSLR on a short refractor or camera lens would then reap the benefits of a ProTrack driven Paramount and would make a great (if not somewhat over the top) platform for wide field imaging with just a DSLR and an intervalometer. No laptop required!
I've put together a video showing how this all works and we've put it on the Software Bisque YouTube channel here:
Enjoy everyone! We are not done with the mobile versions of TheSky by long shot!
03-10-2017 9:50 AM