You can be guided to many objects in the natural sky by tapping the search button and either typing in an object you're looking for or browsing the different categories, such as constellations, stars, planets, and deep space objects. Then just follow the on-screen arrow until your object appears.
If you have selected something and want to know where that object is in the sky, simply tap the compass button. Then just follow the on-screen arrow by moving your device (you can also achieve the same thing by tilting your device skyward).
Sky Guide features many things in the night sky but we are always working on adding more. Please send us your requests for the objects that are the most important to you and we'll try to include them in a future version.
Tap near the bottom edge or swipe up to reveal time center. Use the arrow buttons to rewind or fast-forward time. Repeated taps will increase or decrease the speed. When the time rate becomes too fast Sky Guide will begin stepping by whole days. You can track objects through time by selecting them.
Tap the time reset button on the right to change back to the present time. Tap the calendar button on the left to change the date. Swipe the time controls down to hide them.
Pro Tip: Tap and hold the arrow buttons to immediately skip by whole days.
Comets are dynamically generated in Sky Guide with coma and tails that are based on real physics. This lets you not only go back in time to view some of history's greatest comets, but you can also get a sneak peek at what newly discovered comets might look like at their closest approach.
The first step to enjoying comets in Sky Guide is to know when to look. First tap the search button and navigate to Comets. You'll see some of the best comets in this list. Slide one of these left to reveal shortcuts and tap on the info button. Take note of the Perihelion Date. You'll want to set your date in Sky Guide to something near this date because that is when a comet is closest to the Sun. Once your time is set, go back to the comets list and select your comet of interest. The time controls should be visible at the bottom. Change the time or date to see how the comet changes.
Pro Tip: We recommend holding down the forward or back buttons to skip by full days at 10 days/second. This shows you how the appearance of the comet would change from night to night as seen from your location. For a more spacewalk view, turn the Horizon layer off in Preferences and set your location to the North Pole by navigating to Location > Manual Location and selecting 89° 59' 59" N on the latitude spinners. This will keep the appearance of the comet steadier over time (don't forget to change your location back afterward).
Tap and hold to create a new filter and you will see a window appear in a different wavelength of light. You can reposition a filter by dragging it from the middle or resize it by dragging the edges or spreading it outward. If you make it big enough it will automatically fill the screen. To return to the default wavelength, just tap and hold to create another filter and then make it fullscreen. To close a filter, either flick it off screen or tap outside the filter area. You can also change the wavelength by twisting the filter. Available wavelengths include Gamma Ray, X-Ray, Ultraviolet, Visible (default), Hydrogen Alpha, Infrared, Microwave and Radio. Information about each wavelength is available by tapping on the informational title that appears briefly when creating a filter.
Star sounds in Sky Guide are based on two things: temperature and luminosity. These two properties help to classify stars and tell us how far they have undergone stellar evolution.
In Sky Guide, stars with higher surface temperatures have higher pitched notes. For example, a very hot star like Alnitak will have a high note and a relatively cool star like Betelgeuse will have a low note. Hot stars are massive objects that live fast and die young. See if you can find them by listening to their notes!
Additionally, stars with greater luminosity will sound louder. You might notice that stars which are more luminous (louder) don't necessarily appear brighter. Just as a car's headlights grow in brightness the closer they are, so too do stars appear brighter when they are physically closer. Therefore, a less luminous star that is much nearer to us can still appear quite bright (try tapping on Sirius, for example). This is known as 'apparent magnitude' and doesn't tell us much about a star unless we also know its distance. Stellar luminosity, on the other hand, is an intrinsic measure of the total amount of energy emitted from a star. A star of 10,000 solar luminosities outputs 10,000 times more energy than the Sun and will sound louder when tapping the star, regardless of its distance.
The intensity of starlight can be changed by sliding two fingers in an up or down gesture. If you have a lot of light pollution where you live and can't see very many stars the star brightness gesture can help you better match an urban sky.
Sky Guide includes detailed historical information, illustrations and future flyover times for 250 of the brightest satellites, including the International Space Station, the Hubble Space Telescope and all Iridium satellites.
On average, only a handful of satellites may be visible from dark locations and you may have to be patient to see a bright one fly overhead. Open the search panel and select the satellites category to see when the next visible pass for a satellite is expected. Remember, the best time to spot satellites is in the hours after dusk or before dawn.
Sky Guide’s catalog currently only includes satellites that are potentially visible to the unaided eye. Many satellites, including GPS satellites and most communication satellites, are in high orbits that are too far from the surface of the Earth to be visible without a telescope or binoculars.
You may wish to be reminded before a particular satellite pass. First navigate to a list of satellites in search. Tap the passes sorting tab to view a list of passes, swipe left on the pass of interest and then tap the clock button. A reminder will be scheduled.
Alternatively, if you just want to be reminded automatically about the best satellite passes like the International Space Station and the brightest Iridium flares, be sure to turn on Notifications. These can be accessed through the Main Menu > Notifications > Satellite Passes. For the highest accuracy (which is especially important for Iridium flares), we recommend allowing Sky Guide to always access your location. This can be selected the iOS Settings app under Privacy > Location Services > Sky Guide > Always. For those mindful of their battery usage, setting Sky Guide to 'always' will not significantly impact battery performance as we do not wake your GPS antenna.
From the search view, swipe left on an object to reveal more options. Tap the favorites button to add this object to your favorites. Your full list of favorites can be accessed from the main search view. You can also add favorites from the bottom navigation area in an article.
Sky Guide features a widget for the Today view of Notification Center. Swipe down from the top edge of your screen to access Notification Center (you may have to swipe left depending on which page you last viewed). Next, scroll to the bottom and tap the Edit button. Select Sky Guide from the list of options.
By default, the Sky Guide Today Widget will list the rise and set times of the Sun and Moon. Tap Show More and you will see a list of planets including Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn along with a timeline of their altitudes and sky brightness. Only one planet is shown by default but you can toggle planets on and off by selecting the circles on the left side.
Sky Guide for Apple Watch has three objects: Sun, Moon and International Space Station. The app can be accessed either from your full collection of apps (pressing the Digital Crown) or from your Dock if you have added it there (WatchOS 3 recommended). Each object starts with a visual page followed by a detail page revealed by turning the Digital Crown. The visual pages are real-time representations of each object. For example, the Sun is a live image of the Sun as seen with satellite imagery and the ISS page shows a whole-Earth view with orbital track.
Objects are not lining up with their true positions in the sky.
There are a number of possible causes for this. First, since Sky Guide needs to know your location to correctly orient the sky, check to make sure Location Services for Sky Guide are turned on. This can be accessed under your device Settings > Privacy > Location Services (Please be assured we do not collect your location information). If you are in an area without a Wi-Fi or data connection, you may need to set your location manually. This can be done in the Sky Guide Main Menu > Location.
Also check to make sure your date and time is set correctly (this can be accessed under your device Settings > General, Date & Time).
If objects are still showing in the wrong positions by large amounts, make sure you are not near any objects that could affect your compass (this potentially includes cases that have magnets). You can also calibrate the compass by waving your device in a sideways figure 8 motion.
If problems persist, it may be helpful to restart your device (you can do this easily by holding the sleep/wake button and the home button at the same time until the screen goes black).
Special note for iPod Touch users: Sky Guide is compatible with the 5th generation iPod Touch and later, but since these devices do not have GPS or digital compasses, there are some extra steps required for the best possible experience. First, you can hold your iPod Touch to the sky for a live and automatic view, but without a compass Sky Guide will need your help. The grip located at the bottom of your screen allows you to make corrections in heading. Simply drag it left or right while using the N, S, E, W arrows or the Sun and Moon as reference points to set the correct initial heading. Second, Sky Guide will attempt to acquire your location through Wi-Fi rather than GPS (make sure Location Services is enabled on your iPod Touch), but if you are in a new location without Wi-Fi it is recommended that you manually set your location in Main Menu > Location > Manual Location.
Special note for iPad users: If you are using a Wi-Fi only iPad model, please ensure that your automatic coordinates seem reasonable, as Location Services via Wi-Fi are not always reliable. Also, if you are using a third-party case or cover with magnets, it might help to remove it during use with Sky Guide.
My sound does not work.
First check to see if you have sound (and music, if desired) enabled under Sky Guide Main Menu > Preferences. Secondly, if you have a mute switch on your device, please ensure that it is switched to the unmuted position. If you are still experiencing no sound, please visit Apple support for more suggestions.
My preferred language is not displayed.
Sky Guide is available in 11 languages, including English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, Japanese, Korean, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese. If your preferred language is not displaying in Sky Guide, navigate to this page:
iOS Settings > General > Language & Region > iPhone/iPad Language.
If Sky Guide is not available in your primary language, it will default to the first available language in your Preferred Language Order section. This list will appear on the Language & Region page if you have selected more than one language. You can reorganize this list by tapping the Edit button.
Does Sky Guide work without Wi-Fi or cellular service?
Yes. All the information in Sky Guide is self-contained so access to the internet is not required for full operation. If you are in an area without Wi-Fi or cellular service, you may find that geolocation can take a little longer, but GPS will eventually determine your location. For devices without GPS like the iPod Touch and Wi-Fi model iPad, you may need to select a manual location in the Main Menu > Location > Manual Location.
I purchased a star name from a star registry service. Can you help me find it or add it to Sky Guide?
Sorry, but we don't do this. It is important to keep in mind that star registry services are simply memorabilia marketing companies and that the names being sold are not recognized by any scientific institutions. As the IAU puts it, "the beauty of the night sky is not for sale, but is free for all to enjoy". If you would like to conduct your own coordinate search for finding stars, we recommend using SIMBAD.
According to astrology, the Sun should currently be in my sign but Sky Guide shows it in a different position along the zodiac. Why?
While it is true that astronomy and astrology share similar roots, they diverged long ago. Ancient astrologers were not familiar with the concept of precession, whereby the axis of the Earth slowly wobbles over the millennia, causing the Sun to trace out a different path across the celestial sphere. In other words, astrology does not accurately predict the present day position of the Sun relative to the stars.
Is Sky Guide available on other platforms?
Sky Guide is currently available on the App Store. While we don't discuss future development plans, you can always stay informed of any changes by subscribing to our mailing list.
I received an event notification but it disappeared before I could read it. Where can I view it?
Missed notifications can be viewed in Notification Center of iOS. Swipe down from the top edge of your screen and swipe over to the Notifications page.