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Using Observer Pro Horizon Data in SkySafari;
Sun with AR1476

Posted: 13 May 2012

Two of my most used iPhone apps while in the observatory are "SkySafari 3 Pro" and "Observer Pro". The developer of Observer Pro has released a "horizon converter" that will convert the Observer Pro horizon data to a SkySafari (Mac, iOS, and Android) horizon panorama image. First you export the Observer Pro horizon by selecting your site in Observer Pro and tap Local Horizon:


Then tap the "Share" button at the top right and email the data file to yourself:


Once you receive the email on your computer, save the file. It will be called something like this: "Cassiopeia Observatory.hzn". Then go to this web page on the Observer Pro support web site:

Upload your horizon file and click the "Convert!" button. After a few seconds, your horizon image will appear. Just follow the onscreen instructions to save the file on your computer. It will be called something like: "Cassiopeia Observatory.png" and appear something like this (reduced from the full-size version):


To install the panorama image on SkySafari Pro for Mac OS X (current version is 1.5), click Horizon in the nav bar at the top of the window. Select to "Show Horizon & Sky" and "as Realistic Image". Then click "+" to select your horizon file. Here you can see that I have installed my Cassiopeia Observatory panorama image exported from Observer Pro:


To install the panorama on SkySafari on iOS, connect your iOS device to iTunes and select it. Then click the "Apps" tab in iTunes and scroll until you see the "File Sharing" section. Select "SkySafari" and drag your horizon image file to the list of files in SkySafari. Here is my horizon file installed on my iPhone (2nd item in the list):


I assume the process is similar for the Android version. The next time you SYNC your device, SkySafari will have your horizon panorama image, but you have tell SkySafari to use it. In the SkySafari settings on your device, tap "Horizon & Sky", then turn on "Show Horizon & Sky" with "as Panoramic Image":


Then select your panorama from the "Horizon Panoramas" list:


There is one minor nit with the converted panorama: the ground is green, but so are the Cardinal point (N-E-S-W) labels, making them invisible on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. But otherwise, using the Observer Pro converter, it is really convenient to now have the same horizon on both Observer Pro and SkySafari. Thanks to Joshua Bury for making it available.

A few minutes after noon on Saturday, 12 May 2012, I took this Nikon D7000 DSLR photo (slightly cropped) of the sun showing AR1476, f/11, 1/1000sec, ISO 1000, 300mm:


The sunspot group was visible to the naked eye when viewed through the solar filter.

The observatory was opened at 1847 MST, 88°F. At 1858 MST, viewed Venus, 77X, followed by Mars. No details were seen on Mars at 77X, but at 133X, the very small North Polar Cap, the sunrise cloud, and a dark area were visible. I tried to use 364X and 206X but seeing was not good enough to allow any details to be seen.

I then set up for some iPhone 4 afocal imaging of Mars. I used 222X, 444X, and 222X + moon filter. Unfortunately, the iOS Camera app overexposed all the images. Will try additional filters on the next session.

At 2002 MST, took a quick look at Saturn, 77X. Four moons were visible.

I had originally planned for a long night in the observatory, but after the morning's extensive yard work with the CFO (wife) and a trip to the Apple Store in the afternoon to pick up my new computer, I was pretty well wiped out. Closed the observatory at 2010 MST, 73°F.

Comments are welcome; use the Comments section below, or you can Email Me. Thanks.

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