Visualise the Milky Way and Major Stars in 3D
Next week is a great time for night photography. In addition to the peak of the Perseid Meteor Shower around August 12, a New Moon on August 14 brings dark skies making it an ideal time to photograph the Milky Way. We’re excited to be releasing TPE 3.4 for iOS on Monday, August 10 2015, with major new functionality for night photographers.
Since TPE was first released in 2009, camera sensors have crossed the threshold of capability that makes long exposure, low noise shots of the night sky easy. As a result the popularity of night photography has sky-rocketed.
In 3.4, we’ve added a new 3D map overlay that includes not only a symbolic representation of the Milky Way and the Galactic Centre (the brightest, most photogenic region of the Milky Way), but also Polaris (the northern pole star), Polaris Australis (the southern pole star), the top 25 brightest stars, and a number of the best known constellations in the night sky.
This is a free update for all users of TPE for iOS running iOS 8.1 or higher.
Using Night Mode
Night Mode changes the app display to show the moon, Milky Way and selected stars. Instead of showing a complete day from midnight-to-midnight, the app shows midday-to-midday (local time), allowing you to focus on the night hours.
Enable night mode by tapping the Date at the top centre of the screen and choosing Night Mode (moon + stars icon on the right). The timeline shows all events from midday on the selected date, to midday the following day.
In Night Mode, the timeline displays rise, set and (optionally) transit times and directions for the Galactic Centre, the brightest part of the Milky Way, denoted as ‘GC’ in the timeline.
The map shows a symbolic representation of the band of the Milky Way in 3D above the map (imagine being on the outside of a planetarium centred on the primary/red map pin, looking in). The Galactic Centre is the brightest, widest area. Remember, it’s not always visible at all times of year. You won’t see it ever in far northern parts, and in winter, you’ll need to head even farther south.
Adjust the time of day by sliding from left to right on the altitude chart at the bottom of the screen to view the change in position of the Milky Way through the night.
Polaris and Polaris Australis, the northern and southern pole stars, are shown in red in the 3D map overlay, alongside a line indicating the axis of rotation of the stars as viewed from the primary/red map pin location.
Other major constellations are shown for ease of reference, particularly for those familiar with the night sky. Well known constellations, such as the Plough/Big Dipper and Orion should be easy to spot.
- 3D symbolic representation of the Milky Way and Galactic Centre
- Both northern and southern pole stars (Polaris and Polaris Australis) for star trail photography planning
- Major constellations: Canis Major, Orion, Ursa Major, Crux, Aquila, Aries, Cassiopeia, Cygnus, Gemini, Leo, Lyra, Scorpius, Taurus, and Ursa Minor
- Brightest stars from constellations Carina, Centauri, Bootes, Auriga, Canis Minor, Eridanus, Virgo, Piscis Austrinis
- Direction of galactic north and south poles
- Direction of galactic centre
- Intersection line of Milky Way with the horizon
- 3D moon position representation
- Rise, set and transit times and directions for the Galactic Centre
- Altitude chart for the Galactic Centre
Product images for press/media use showing TPE 3.4 for iOS running on Apple devices in Night Mode.
File size 3.56MB | Last modified Tue Aug 4, 2015 at 17:51 | Download count 41
Screenshots for press/media use showing TPE 3.4 for iOS in Night Mode on various iOS devices.
File size 11.37MB | Last modified Tue Aug 4, 2015 at 18:02 | Download count 31