Frequently Asked Questions – Helioseek

What’s a Golden Hour? Or an astronomical twilight?

The Golden Hour and Blue Hour are just before and after sunset. During these times, natural light is really special for photographers. Civil, Nautical, and Astronomical Dawn are parts of the Blue hour. To learn more about natural light, check out our great Tutorial about Sun Light, Natural Light, and the Golden Hour.

Map Overview

What’s an Azimuth? And a Zenith?

When we want to describe the position of the Sun, we use Azimuth and Zenith. Azimuth tells you the direction of the sun, and zenith tells you how high the sun stands on the horizon.

The Azimuth is simply the direction of the sun on a compass, measured in degrees. When the Sun is directly east, it has an azimuth of 90°. If it’s shining from the south, the azimuth is at 180°. When the sun light comes from the west, it has an azimuth of about 270°.

The Zenith is another angle – this time it describes how high the Sun stands in the sky. The zenith starts at 0°, when the Sun is directly overhead. Sunset happens at a zenith of 90°. Photographers often use the Sun’s elevation to measure how far the sun is above the horizon. This means that the elevation of the sun is 0° (or just above that) at sunset and sunrise, and 90° at high noon in some locations.

How can I change the date?

There are two easy ways to change date and time for the locations:

  • Use the sliders available in every screen. The top slider (in the sun path visualization) will change the time, while the bottom slider changes the date.
  • Simply tap on the Date and Time! This will open a large datepicker that allows you to quickly and directly set any time.

How do I start reverse calculations?

Simple! Just open the AR view and tap the location in the camera view where you want the sun to appear. Once you release your finger, Helioseek will calculate the time at which the sun will appear closest to your chosen location.

How can I make sure the AR view orientation is accurate?

Helioseek’s AR view is usually very accurate. If the sun path is not appearing at the right location, try the following tips:

  • Make sure that you have enabled location access for Helioseek. Without location access, Helioseek cannot access your orientation. Without this information, Helioseek is unable to align the AR view with the real world.
  • Enable compass calibration on your device. This is a system setting, which you can enable in Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services > Compass Calibration. Compass calibration let’s your device use location information to provide a more accurate heading.
  • Try quitting and restarting Helioseek. To do so, swipe up from the bottom of your screen (or double-press your home button), and swipe up on Helioseek. Then, simply restart the app. This relaunches the AR session and can sometimes give a better orientation.
  • Try moving outside, or to a different room. Within buildings, your device often can’t find the true north due.
  • Try removing cases with magnets. Magnets can confuse your iPhone’s sensors and reduce the tracking quality. Usually, this is not an issue, but it helps for some cases.

If you are still experiencing issues, drop us a note to We will get back to you quickly and try to solve your problem.