Telescope App

Your guide to the heavens


Who Is This App For?

This app is for amateur astronomers who have an equatorially mounted telescope and an iPhone or iPod Touch with GPS support. The new iPhone 3GS with the built-in compass is NOT required! It will work just fine on any device that has an accelerometer and GPS. Telescope App will NOT work with altitude/azimuth mounts. At this time, you must also be an observer in the Northern Hemisphere between 10 N and 80 N latitude. If you already have a fancy “Goto” system for your telescope then you probably won’t find this useful. For the rest of you, this is a low cost solution that makes finding celestial objects easier.

So, What is Telescope App?

The Telescope App for iPhone/iPod Touch is an application that works together with your equatorial telescope mount to help you find interesting objects to look at in the night sky. Once you set up your iPhone or iPod Touch, you select the object you want to see from the app’s built-in database of objects which is currently composed of the Messier Objects (more to come). The app will then instruct you on how to move your telescope to find the object you’re looking for.

Telescope App uses your device’s accelerometer to determine the direction that your telescope is pointing. This allows it to provide you with feedback so that you know you’re moving your telescope in the right direction and in the right amount. Once you’re aimed at your object, Telescope App will let you know! Simply look into the eyepiece and enjoy.


The goal of Telescope App is to make finding celestial objects easier. If your equatorial mount or telescope is not aligned properly, that error will lead Telescope App to inaccurately position your telescope. If your mount and telescope are correctly set up and the app has been properly calibrated, then the app should be able to place the target object in the finder scope’s field of view. At that point you can make fine adjustments to the telescope’s position to place the object in the view of the eyepiece.

Mounting Your iPhone/iPod Touch to Your Telescope

In order to use Telescope App, your iPhone/iPod Touch needs to be securely mounted to your telescope tube. We plan to offer a specialized mount for sale in the near future. If you would like to use Telescope App until then, you can try using an iPod arm band around the telescope or some other creative means. However, it is essential that the iPhone/iPod Touch is mounted so that it does not slip or move with respect to the telescope tube as you navigate. If it does slip, you will need to repeat the calibration process.

Shouldn’t your time be spent observing rather than navigating?


NASA/courtesy of

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