Digital life | The eclipse for geeks

Dozens of mobile apps and gadgets are available for tech enthusiasts who will join millions of amateur astronomers on April 8. Here are the recommendations of three experts consulted by The Press.




Solar Eclipse Timer

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The app Solar Eclipse Timer indicates the different phases of eclipses to the nearest second.

This is an “essential application,” believes Jasmin Robert, general director of the Fédération des astronomers amateurs du Québec (FAAQ). As its name suggests, its first function is to indicate to the second the different phases of eclipses, from start to finish, with the short interlude of the total eclipse. You can use the location provided by GPS to your phone or manually type in the coordinates. To obtain the data for April 8, you have to pay US$1.99. In addition to the written instructions in the app, a voice alerts you to the different phases of eclipses. Solar Eclipse Timer However, it is only available in English and its interface is rather ugly.

My eclipse

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My eclipsedeveloped by the Fédération des astronomers amateurs du Québec, surpasses Solar Eclipse Timer on at least three aspects: it is free, in French and much prettier.

Directly inspired by Solar Eclipse Timer, My eclipse was developed by the FAAQ and launched last fall, in time for the partial annular eclipse of October 14 and, above all, for that of April 8. She surpasses Solar Eclipse Timer on at least three aspects: it is free, in French and much prettier. “Let’s say we tried to make a more general public application,” explains Jasmin Robert modestly. You can manually enter coordinates or let the phone provide them via its GPS. Here too, the different stages are vocally commented, with a female voice describing for example the “partial phase at 10%”, then instructing us to “look for the crescents of the Sun”, then to remove our glasses during the brief interlude of total eclipse. . More complete written explanations appear at the bottom of the screen. Fruit of the collaboration of the FAAQ with around ten experts, notably from the University of Montreal and the Association of Ophthalmological Doctors of Quebec, the app is full of explanatory capsules on the history, the phenomenon, its impact on animals. “We added the eclipses of the next 10 years,” specifies the general director of the FAAQ. There is a partial eclipse in March 2025. Eventually, we would like to include lunar eclipses. »

Sky Safari

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Sky Safari is not an eclipse-specific app, but hundreds of celestial objects, from solar system planets to galaxies near and far, are logged, with events featured every day.

The app Sky Safari 7, for which you have to pay from $12.99 to $24.99, is probably one of the most intuitive, with slick graphics. This is not an app specifically dedicated to the eclipse, although we have dedicated a special section to it, but rather a tool for the amateur astronomer. Hundreds of celestial objects, from planets in the solar system to galaxies near and far, are recorded here, with events featured every day. We thus announced the passage of the shadow of Europa on Jupiter on March 28, or that of Io on this giant planet at 10:57 a.m. this Wednesday. Curiously, the interface is only half translated into French.

Seestar S50

PHOTO TAKEN FROM THE ZWO ASTRO SITE

The Seestar S50 is an all-in-one telescope, camera, 50mm telescope and remote control mount with a rechargeable battery. It can be controlled by a mobile application on which the captured and photographed image appears.

This is the toy recommended by our three experts, selling for around $675, even if its availability may be problematic as April 8 approaches. It’s essentially an all-in-one telescope, part camera, 50mm telescope, and remote-controlled stand with a rechargeable battery. It can be controlled by a mobile application on which the captured and photographed image appears. You can decide the portion of the sky observed or let the application choose the star, then follow it, which could obviously be useful on the day of the eclipse.

PHOTO PROVIDED BY PHILIPPE MOUSSETTE

Philippe Moussette, president of the VÉGA astronomy club of Cap-Rouge and author of the book Eyes turned to the sky

“It’s a small, intelligent telescope: you can just let it go, it will find it on its own, you program it by telling it: “I want this object, this number of photos, every 30 seconds”, for example,” explains Philippe Moussette, president of the VÉGA astronomy club of Cap-Rouge and author of the book Eyes turned to the sky. The slightly less expensive DWARF II is also an all-in-one smart telescope.

SolarQuest

PHOTO FROM SKYWATCHERUSA.COM

The SolarQuest has a specialty: tracking the Sun at all times, with its GPS which allows it to establish time and location.

The SolarQuest from the renowned telescope manufacturer Sky-Watcher is designed for the more experienced user, who already has quality photographic equipment. His specialty: following the Sun at all times. You install the camera or telescope with solar filter on this intelligent support, it takes care of the rest. Equipped with a GPS which allows it to determine its location and time, it simply follows the Sun. No big programming here, just press a button and let the motors adjust the direction.

A lot of

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Stellarium displays all celestial objects of interest on your screen, day or night, in their actual location.

The app Stellarium is not the most complete, but it has a rather funny augmented reality function. Using all of the phone’s sensors, it displays all celestial objects of interest on your screen, day or night, in their actual location.

On the Dateandtime.com website, you can select the city where you will be during the eclipse and see a simulation of the event. Spoiler here: unlike the simulations we see everywhere, the Moon will not move horizontally to hide the Sun. She will first attack its lower right side and cross it diagonally.

PHOTO ALAIN ROBERGE, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

Olivier Hernandez, director of the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium

It’s impossible not to mention here the site of an eclipse chaser, the Frenchman Xavier Jubier (xjubier.free.fr), so complete that even the Montreal Planetarium uses its data. “We have specialized software developed by our astronomers, but we often cross-check them with Xavier Jubier’s website,” says Olivier Hernandez, director of the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium. The precision of Mr. Jubier’s calculations ensures that it makes it possible to carry out “limb corrections”, adjusting the visible lunar surface according to its irregularities. “There are craters and mountains that will modify the duration of the total eclipse, there can be a difference of up to 10 seconds,” explains Mr. Hernandez.


reference: www.lapresse.ca

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