The iPad and astronomy

I've recently rediscovered my love of astronomy.

Currently, I'm using a pair of my Dad's old 10x50 binoculars. I've got a small (100mm reflector) telescope on the way. I need something small to take on my constant travels.

The iPad is a near perfect observational tool. I've got a ton of astronomy apps, but my favourite by far is SkySafari Pro. It's not cheap, but I managed to get it at a low price in one of their sales, so keep an eye out.

I use the app to identify what I'm looking at and to drill down and find more info out in the field. I mainly use the 'static' display, preferring to manually search around, as I find this gives me a greater understanding of what I'm looking at. But it does also have an excellent augmented reality function - just point your iPad up into the sky and it'll show you what you're pointed at.

When I'm done observing for the night, I like to keep a record of what I've seen.

First step is to take a screen grab from SkySafari Pro of the area(s) I've been looking at. I then load those into Pixelmator on the iPad and use one of the shape tools to draw around what I've been observing.

I then send that to Day One, where it can automatically add the date and location of the observation. I'll also tag it as "astronomy" so I can easily find my observing logs at a later date.

I end up with something like this...

My observing log in Day One

My observing log in Day One

This is a wonderful example of new tech really being useful. The iPad is being genuinely useful to me here - it educates me, and also allows me to keep a permanent record of my discoveries and findings.

Great stuff.