The Scope Communication settings specify what kind of telescope
you have, and how SkySafari should communicate
with your telescope. Click to enlarge.

Scope Setup

Use these settings to specify what kind of telescope hardware you have, and how SkySafari should communicate with your telescope.

In order to communicate with your telescope, you will need either:

If you don't have such an adapter, you can also use Carina's Voyager software, running on a Mac or PC with Wi-Fi and a serial port, as a Wi-Fi-to-serial server. See Southern Stars's web site at www.southernstars.com for more details.

Equipment Selection

Scope Type: Use this setting to select the type of telescope to control. SkySafari can control any of the telescopes in the list. Many "Go-To" telescopes can emulate the Meade LX-200 command protocol; you may wish to try that option if your telescope is not listed separately here. Your telescope may need to be set to "LX-200 mode" in order for this to work; check your telescope manual for more details.

SkySafari supports many encoder systems that can read out the telescope position but not actually move the telescope. The Meade Magellan I and II, Losmandy DSC, and Sky Commander are examples of such encoder systems.

Mount Type selection, with options for encoders.
Click to enlarge.

Mount Type: Use this setting to select your telescope's type of mounting:

If your telescope mount has encoders which provide a digital readout of the scope's position, additional text fields will appear here. These let you specify the encoder resolution.

RA/Azm: The number of steps per revolution for the encoder attached to the telescope's Right Ascension axis (or Azimuth axis, if you have an alt-azimuth mount).

Dec/Alt: The number of steps per revolution for the encoder attached to the telescope's Declination axis (or Altitude axis, if you have an alt-azimuth mount).

Get Automatically: If turned on, SkySafari will attempt to read these values from your encoders when it connects to the telescope controller. If turned off, you can enter the encoder steps per revolution manually; then SkySafari will send the values you entered to the encoders when connecting to the telescope. You can do this if (for example) your mount is using gears or pulleys to increase the effective encoder resolution.

Depending how your encoders are installed, their position readouts may increase when they are turned clockwise, or increase when they are turned counterclockwise. If the encoder position readouts increase when they are turned counterclockwise, enter a negative value for the number of steps per revolution. You may need to determine the correct + or - sign by trial-and-error. If you push your telescope left (or up), but the telescope field-of-view indicator on the sky char moves right (or down), the sign is probably wrong.

Communication Settings

The first two settings below (IP address and TCP port) are only used with Wi-Fi telescope communication. If SkyWire is connected to your iPhone, iPad, or iPad Touch, SkySafari will use SkyWire (rather than Wi-Fi) to communicate with your telescope.

IP Address: The IP address of the Wi-Fi adapter or server that is physically connected to the telescope. Your iPhone or iPod must be on the same Wi-Fi network as the adapter or server, and must have an IP address on the same subnet. Check your iPhone's Wi-Fi network settings to make sure this is correct.

Port Number: The TCP port number to be used for communication with the adapter. Make sure this is the same TCP port that the telescope adapter or server is listening on.

Set Time and Location: If turned on, SkySafari will send the time and location from your iPhone to the telescope when establishing a connection. This will overwrite your telescope's previously-set time and location. For older Meade LX-200 telescopes, this may also cause a delay of up to 15 seconds when connecting, so you may wish to turn this setting off.

Readout Rate: The readout rate is the frequency with which SkySafari requests the telescope's position from the mount so it can update the position on-screen. If you set this rate to "4 per second", then SkySafari will request the telescope's position four times every second.

If the telescope frequently stops communicating, the rate of position requests may be too frequent for the telescope to respond properly. Setting a lower readout rate of 1 or 2 readouts per second may solve the communication problem. The optimal readout rate varies with the type of mount used and may require some trial and error to determine. A lower readout rate means that the telescope position displayed on the sky chart will be updated less frequently, and using SkySafari to control the telescope may feel sluggish.

SkyFi Settings Web Page: If you have a SkyFi wireless adapter, this item displays its settings/configuration web page. You must be connected to SkyFi's wireless network in order to see this web page, and the SkyFi's IP address must match the IP address entered at the top of the view.