5.x (Desktop)
3.0.x (Mobile)
User Guide


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Last Update: 10 February 2016

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Table of Contents:


Disclaimer of Warranty




Quick reference

Main page

Sky page

Space page

Sun clock

Moon phases

Ephemeris and Weather


Universal search





What SkyORB allows you, it’s a real-time representation of the planet positions around the sun, the ability to hold your device and point toward a visible star and planet and reveal the name by tracking the GPS position, compass orientation, the elevation and even the barometric pressure on some Android devices, and finally, warn the user when a phenomenon is occurs as a full moon, a planet really visible, which is worth the observation, remind you about a lunar eclipse etc...

Check out the many features of SkyORB:



SkyORB uses Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s DE404 Long Ephemeris for all planets coordinates.

For jovians moons (Jupiter), martians moon, formulae taken from Meeus ‘Astronomical Algorithms’ are being used.

For satellites positions, SGP4/SDP4 is used for maximum accuracy..

Some examples: Ephemeris of the sun compared:
SkyORB: Rise: 05:16:08, Set: 20:44:43
Weather Underground: Rise: 05:16, Set: 20:43

Quick reference:                                        

Main page

Functions: Sky, Orbit, Sun, Ephemeris, Moon, Settings, Search

When starting the application, the main page with current settings (location, date) is displayed. Tap on the button on the bar to switch between following pages:

  1. Sky page (Local View)
  2. Orbit page (Space View)
  3. Sun clock page
  4. Ephemeris and weather page
  5. Settings page
  6. Search page

Sky page

Functions: Timeshift, stars display, comets and meteors display, deep objects display, constellation display, planet display, tracking mode, light extinction

Shows the sky above the defined position. Following elements being shown:


Use the mouse wheel to zoom in/out, or if using a Macbook Pro or Macbook Air, you can use the two fingers on the trackpad and rotate left or right.  Use the mouse to drag the view. Use two fingers to zoom in/out and scroll from every direction.


 Use two fingers to zoom in/out and scroll from every direction (with a zoom gesture).

Time shift:
Tap the reverse arrow to going back and forth in time.

The figures -1m, -1d etc..., allows to jump to 1 day before/after the day, or 1 month, or 1 hour.

Press now to restore to the current date.

        On some mobile devices, shaking the phone will also reset the time shift.

 Automatic Tracking:
When selection is disabled, the sky will rotate according the digital compass after 3 seconds.

This mode allow to track an actual visible star. And reveal its name.                

For example, in a situation, you have a clear sky and you see a star or a bright object in the sky, use this function and point the device toward the bright object                

During this mode the orientation of the device is tracked. Pointing the device to the ground will track the ground for example.                                        

Also, in order to ease the tracking of the visible objects, only the most visible stars and planets are drawn. Constellations are hidden and grid is displayed.

Check this video:, about how to use the tracking mode.

Note: This mode ‘point to sky’ can be disabled in the Settings/Location ‘Automatic Compass’.

Comets (MPC):
Display comets, meteors and satellites.

Note: By default, there is no comets and meteors, you need to sync from the web. Tap the button, and select the database you may want to use.        

Display sun path. This helps to see how high the sun will goes during the day.

Display stars names. Only the brightest stars are shown.

Note: Light extinction: By default, the stars are displayed even in daylight times. In order to simulate the light extinction (simulate exactly what you should, with sky coloring), choose Light Extinction set to ON in the Settings page.


Functions: Orbit display, Time Shift, Point of view display, Gallery view display, Real view display,                 

Shows the solar system in following views:

Views mode can be changed with this orbit icon. Real scale mode shows the planets in true scale, False scale mode shows the planets with the same radius in order to see the current planet alignment.

Gallery mode displays every planet in real size, aligned, in order to compare their size Current selected planet can be changed with the  icon. Interface can be disabled with the lower left button.

Orbit rendering can be disabled with the  icon.

To change the date, play a fast forward/backward animation to see how the planets revolve around the sun, use the icon.

When selecting a planet, this will display facts about it.

Sun clock

Functions: Day/time terminators, sub-lunar position, sub-solar position, current location.

Shows rise/set terminators. A pin is showing the current location. You can slide from left to right to see the entire world map.                


Moon phases

Functions: Moon, set, rise, apogee, perigee, eclipse dates

Shows current moon phase in 3D rendering, as well as the dates of new/full moons,  apogee date (date when the moon looks smaller)), perigee date (date when the moon looks bigger) and rise and set times based from the current location.

Ephemeris and Weather

Functions: Astronomical events calendar and notifications, weather, sun rise/set time                

 Shows rise/set times, as well as the current twilight. It also displays the time remaining before the next sun rise / set.

The current weather will be retrieved based from the current location.

The page can be slide to the left to reveal the astronomical events calendar, this will also register notifications for iOS and Android.        

Note: You must visit at least once this page in order to register the notifications.                


Functions: Location, automatic tracking, MPC sync, graphics settings, UI settings        

 You can configure the longitude and latitude as well as the pressure and temperature for better accuracy.   You can also change the current time or use the system time.   You can enable or disable tips shown when clicking on an option.  

UI Font:

    Choose larger font for tablets.


     Configuration current longitude and latitude or let the GPS to take of it. You can also enable or disable the digital compass mode (point to sky).        If GPS is not available, you can enter the coordinates manually.

To verify the position, click on the Sun Clock icon and verify that the pin is located to the correct location.

Note: Location services must be enabled to get the exact coordinates from GPS.  

On iOS, if you have the message ‘location denied’, check in iOS Settings, Settings, Privacy,  Location Services, SkyORB should be ON

Verify that location services is enabled, else the app won’t be able to detect your position for sky rendering and ephemeris.

Digital compass:

Set to OFF to disable tracking in the Sky view.


Connect to Internet and receive latest coordinates for meteors and comets. Most updated MPC (minor planets) and TLE (two line elements) data from NORAD can be retrieved from the Internet by clicking 'Update MPC/TLE'. This will allow seeing latest comets, asteroid, and major satellites currently available.                                

Graphics :

Configure textures details and quality of the rendering according your computer or mobile phone.

Universal search  

Functions: Search by typing, display objects currently above the horizon

Search for places, stars, constellations, nebula, satellites and comets.  

Tap on the white search bar and type few characters then click on a result. Use check below horizon to gray out object below the horizon line.

SkyORB needs the longitude and latitude for rendering the location sky, you can click on the Search icon and type the name of your town, or your country and click on it.                

Example: If you are living in USA, type 'nevad' in the search box and every major town in USA/Nevada will be displayed. To select a town, just click on one of the FLAGS.                

If your town is not listed, go the Settings page and check 'Used defined loc.', then click on Lon. and Lat. to enter your longitude and latitude.

Note: If you can’t use location services for some reasons, and don’t know your longitude and latitude and couldn’t find in the search page, use this third party site :


Functions: notification, alarm, badge, alerts

SkyORB can generate notifications for astronomical event as moon phases (New, Full, First, Last Quarter), conjunction, opposition, meteor shower peak.

        There are 3 types of notifications



Right ascension (abbrev. RA; symbol α) is the astronomical term for one of the two coordinates of a point on the celestial sphere when using the equatorial coordinate system. The other coordinate is the declination.


Declination (abbrev. dec or δ) is one of the two coordinates of the equatorial coordinate system, the other being either right ascension or hour angle. Dec is comparable to latitude, projected onto the celestial sphere, and is measured in degrees north and south of the celestial equator.

The Minor Planet Circulars (MPC): The Minor Planet Center, under the auspices of the International Astronomical Union, it is the official organization in charge of collecting observational data for minor planets (asteroids) and comets, calculating their orbits and publishing this information via the Minor Planet Circulars.                                        

TLE or Orbital elements are the parameters required to uniquely identify a specific orbit.

Opposition : A planet (or asteroid or comet) is said to be "in opposition" when it is in opposition to the Sun, as seen from the Earth. When a planet is like this,

Aphelion: A planet is said to be farthest distance from Earth.                                        

Perihelion: A planet is said to be closest distance from Earth. The planet will appear bigger and easier to spot.



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