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Heavens-Above for Mobile Devices

As part of our efforts to make the Heavens-Above service available to as many users as possible, we now have a prototype mobile version of the site available. The screen shots below will give you an idea of what the mobile site can do, and here is a list of the important features;

  • "Live sky" chart will show you all the current visible satellites as they move across the sky. This is probably the most convenient display for an evening's viewing, as no navigation between pages is necessary.
  • Predictions include all visible satellites up to a configured magnitude cutoff, plus Iridium flares.
  • Javascript automatically refreshes the predictions when necessary and stores them locally on your device. Once you have downloaded the data for the next 24 hours, an Internet connection is no longer necessary.
  • Sky charts are generated on the client using Javascript.
  • Location can be obtained from the phone itself using the HTML5 geolocation service.
  • The site is implemented as a single HTML file and so transitions between pages do not require fetching data from the server.
  • Runs on any device with an HTML5 capable browser (most modern Android and iOS devices).
  • Makes use of the jQuery Mobile framework for a consistent "look and feel".
  • Pages are currently optimised for the smart phone format, but can also be used on tablets. A tablet-optimised layout will be available shortly.
  • The first version of the prototype is only available in the English language, but other languages will follow.

You can try out the mobile prototype right now by clicking here:

Any feedback you wish to send will be welcome and could help us improve the mobile version of the site. We cannot guarantee to answer all e-mails, but we will read them.

Home Page

The home page is simply a list of buttons to navigate to other pages. If you haven't already selected your location, then some of the buttons will be disabled.

Settings Page

Use the settings page to select your location and the maximum magnitude for which you want to receive satellite predictions. You can click on the "Get current location" button to use the location service of your device, or you can enter your latitude manually. You will probably need to give your permission for the location service to be used. There is no need to enter a time zone, it will be obtained from your device. Click the update button once you have entered the settings.

Live Sky Chart Page

This page shows you the current sky chart and any satellites which are currently visible. The satellites are shown as icons which move across the sky. The satellite which is currently highest in the sky will be highlighted and its track across the sky also shown. At the bottom of the page below the chart, you can see more information about the currently selected satellite. You can select any other visible satellite by tapping its icon. If there are no satellites currently visible, the track and textual information about the next scheduled satellite will be shown, together with a countdown to the start of the pass. You can see the names of the satellites, constellations etc. by simply touching the chart - as long as your finger remains on the chart, the labels will be displayed, as shown in the second screenshot.

Satellite Pass List

This is simply a chronologically ordered list of events. You can click on one of the satellite or Iridium Flare events and this will load a details page for that particular event. Each item in the event list starts with the name of the satellite and the time of maximum altitude. Underneath the satellite name and the time, altitude and azimuth of the start, maximum altitude and end of the event, and also the estimated magnitude at maximum altitude.

Satellite Pass Details

This is a static sky chart showing the satellite track, and the position of the satellite at the highest point, followed by more details about the event in text foram at the bottom.