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Celestial Compass

Celestial Compass



Turn your iPhone or iPod Touch into a compass with the aid of the Sun, Moon, or Big Dipper.

Holding your iPhone horizontally, simply rotate it until the hands on the compass align with one or more of the celestial bodies. The compass will then be aligned with True North.


- Finds True North: Celestial Compass is not affected by magnetic declination.

- Integrated bubble level helps keep your iPhone perfectly face up for enhanced accuracy.

- Provides the precise altitude and azimuth of each celestial body.

- Real time display update: the compass hands track the location of the Sun, Moon, and Big Dipper using your position and the time of day.

Tested with iPhone OS 3.0.

*NOTE* This app relies Location Services, which may not be available in all regions.

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Rated 2/5 based on 3 customer reviews.


4/5 stars

App works OK; reviewers don't get it

The app has pretty much finished its "work" when the compass shows up on the screen. The user is presented with a compass, along with the current position of the sun, moon, and big dipper. (These celestial bodies will show up at different positions as the day progresses.) The only active part during use is the level bubble floating in the center, a cute, if somewhat unnecessary element.

To set the compass to north, the user is to rotate the entire phone until one of the three points of interest is properly aligned. For example, during the day, the user rotates the phone until the line going to the sun on the compass, if extended, would go all the way to the sun. The best way to do this is to hold the phone up and sight along it, looking directly into the sun. No, wait! That's not a good idea at all! The best way is to lay the phone on a flat surface, then hold up a stick or stylus vertically from the center of the compass rose, casting a shadow of the stylus. Then, just rotate the phone until that shadow lines up with the line coming from the sun. No, wait, that won't work, either, because the developer failed to extend the line from the sun past the center of the rose. Oh, well, image where the sun line would be if it did extend beyond the center, then line up the shadow with that.

The result is an approximation of True North, not Magnetic North. Because our modern time system sets clocks, not for the local time, but for the average time across the entire width of a time zone, the further you are from the center, the more error will be induced by this compromise. It will still be close enough for practical purposes.

If you want a more straightforward method of determining the sun's position, consider Sun Compass, from Vlad Lungu. It does extend the sun's line behind the center of the rose, so that you can line up a shadow with ease. Sun Compass, however, while allowing use of either the sun or moon shadow, does not also display the location of the big dipper, so on a moonless night, you're fresh out of luck, making Celestial Compass a better choice for that.

Decisions, decisions...

4/5 stars

One key feature missing

First let me say I really like this app. O use it to find positions of sun/moon along horizon to set up outdoor/astro photos. Please! please! please! Add a feature that allows you to advance the time to any day/hour/min in the future. This would make the app immensely more useful in predicting and planning photo shoots from a particular location that will be revisited in the future or knowing where sun/moon will rise/set even one or two hours ahead of time.

0/5 stars

Does not work. Do not waste your money.

App does not work. Do not waste your money.


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The information may be outdated (2011-04-27 14:27:23). For actual information go to iTunes

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