Apple, apps and hobbies: My use case: Astronomy You?

Just curious about how some of you might use your Apple tech with your hobbies? And if you do, what’s the context, what are the apps you use and how?

I’ve got a few. Astronomy is something I picked back up as an adult around 2012. Along with a dobsonian telescope I use the iPad with Sky Safari for finding objects to view. That app also allows for recording observations of objects but I moved that over to FileMaker and Numbers for more options and control of the data. For those that like structure there are observation programs that can be followed that are provided by the Astronomical League. I’ve done a couple of them. Each has certain requirements in terms of the details recorded. This is where FileMaker and Numbers spreadsheets became more useful in keeping track of the objects. The Herschel 400 consists of a mix of 400 objects, galaxies, star clusters, nebulae, double stars and others all of which were originally recorded/named by William Herschel. I used the iPad at the telescope first to find each object and then I would record the relevant data via keyboard or dictation for later transcription.

I’ve also tried a bit of sketching of objects at the telescope which is a bit tricky in the dark. From there I’ve also made a few attempts at using Procreate to paint objects in the hopes of seeing more detail. A kind of detailed study of the visual reinforced by reading about the objects in the Sky Safari app and usually Wikipedia. Here are a few that I’ve done, each one is based off of an image likely from the object’s Wikipedia page and each took 20-30 hours to complete. And as an exercise in appreciating the objects through the telescope I’d say it does help. Both the time reading and painting.
Orion Nebula which is currently visible in the night sky from North America:

The Lagoon Nebula which is a summertime object.

The Horsehead nebula is a small portion of this larger nebula. I’ve not actually been successful in observing this one as it is one of the more difficult to view.

And this is a progression of the painting of the Horsehead nebula over a few days:

And here are a couple shots taken of my view, one with telescope, one without.

Some other hobbies where I’ve followed a similar model are gardening and birding, both of which I’ve found added value by recording observations, photography, etc.

How about you?


Fascinating. Thanks for sharing.

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Reviving this thread I started a while back… in a recent thread, Pupsino wrote:

I’d love to hear how folks use Apple tech for hobbies, etc. Anyone?

OK I will bite…

I play chess, previously for many years at club and county level, and by post at international level.

This involved getting hold of some pretty specialist publications quarterly from Yugoslavia, which meant a trip to London bookshop Foyles. Later these became available on 5.25 floppy disks with some specialist software to run through and search games.

The rise in Chess programs ability to play eventually all but killed Correspondence chess, and work got in the way of me playing so much in matches.

Now I play on line, never against computers, but usually playing 5 or 10 minute games on line when I have a spare five minutes. It is still though a bit of an obsession which has been with me all my life.


Which chess app are you using? (I realise this might be a loaded v question, but I’m asking in case you’re going to offer a random answer!)

Your art is amazing. I have Procreate and I’d really like to know how I use it. But I just end up going back to paper when I want to draw. There are so many options and techniques in Procreate that it’s overwhelming.