OK, so in Part 1 we covered 4 different astronomy/telescope apps for your Smart Phone. In part 2? Well, we’re going to pretty much do some more of that.
ZoomCalc is a simple program where you can input stats from your telescope to get some interesting optical information about your telescope. The program has 2 parts, 1 for your telescope and one for the eyepieces. The first you need to enter the aperture, focal length, and eyepiece size (1.25″ or 2″). ZoomCalc then presents a screen of information about what your telescope can deliver:
Sorry, the only screenshot we could find was in Cyrillic. But suffice it to say you are provided with 12 optical aspects of the telescope from Maximum magnification, aperture ratio, and many others. If you don’t know what the terms mean there is a handy pop-up button that gives you a definition. Mind you all of these results be be had with a calculator but its handy to get them all at one shot.
The eyepiece part is a bit useless. It just calculates magnification, something anyone should be able to do with a calculator or in their head. An app like this should have gone the extra step and figured out apparent fields of view and such. It would have been much more useful.
Verdict: Handy for experienced astronomer, but not critical
Next Up: Telescope Calculator Lite
This is a lot like Zoom Calc but does both more and less in the same time. With Telscope Calc Lite you enter your telescope’s aperture, focal length and the eyepeice’s focal length and apparent field. From this Telesceop Calc gives you some handy calculations:
There is more about fields of view and such with this app, but unlike ZoomCalc there is no explanation of the terms. The help pages gives some hints but not a true definition. This is designed for astronomers who already have knowledge of such terms and just would rather have an easy way of calculating rather than trying to remember the formula for true field.
Telescope Calc Lite has a nice night mode you can toggle from the menu. Handy. The ‘Pro’ version of this app costs $0.99 and lets you save values you have entered.
Verdict: Handy for astronomers with some experience.
Next: Meteor Show App for Android
Meteor Shower App is pretty straight forward. You open it up and it shows you a list of all the major meteor showers for this year and the dates they take place. So that you can settle bar bets the ones that have already passed are not removed from the year’s list:
Clicking on a shower listing gives you more handy details such as the phase of the Moon during the peak, more dates, hourly rate, and a few more details.
Note that there is a similar app for the iPhone that is actually a bit less crude looking than the android app:
The only things is that the Android app is free while the iPhone costs $0.99
Verdict: Good to have!
Next: Telescopes Demystified
This is available for the Android only.
This isn’t really an app, its more of a book about astronomy. A very limited book..and really probably not a very good book. We can start with the fact that the app is called telescopes demystified and then has Telescopes Mystery on the pic and ‘cover’.
The book is divided in to chapters and there is not much rhyme or reason to how they are laid out. Radio telescopes are mentioned, some odd reviews of telescope that made me go ‘really?!’. Only some limited info about actually using your telescope and some chapters just seem like outright ads for telescope models and companies. I tried to evaluate this for someone who was brand new to astronomy and all I can say is: you can do better. Hordes of websites from amateur astronomers do a better job, our own telescope buyer’s guide does a better job. You can get a lot more info than this ‘book’ from wikipedia. I just was not impressed overall.
Verdict: Don’t Bother