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Need a planning software

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#1 Brent Campbell

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 09:46 AM

Does anyone know of a good astronomy planning software that is cheap or preferably free?

I am already using Stellarium on my PC and Sky Safari on my tablet. What I want is something that will show me the "best and brightest" objects in a particular area of sky, relative brightness, and coordinates. A picture of the object would be a huge bonus.

#2 CJK

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 02:29 PM

Observer Pro is excellent if you have an iOS device.

-- Chris

#3 Lane

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 04:09 PM

I use sky safari to put together a plan of what I want to view and then I use that observing list to log my observations. I spend a lot of time creating lists to use when I go to my dark site. Rainy days are a perfect time to do that. Sometimes I will use Sky Tools 3 or just recommendations from CN to help pick what objects go on a particular observing list, but most of the time I pick them right off the sky safari screen. I generally don't carry pictures with me because I want to report what I actually see and not what I think I should see.

I am guessing what you want is something like Sky Tools 3 where you enter a bunch of parameters and it selects objects for you. Nothing beats Sky Tools 3 for doing that kind of thing but it is not free.

#4 demiles

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 05:14 PM

Another vote for Observer Pro for iOS

#5 dandabson

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 06:24 PM

Give Astroplanner a try.

#6 A. Viegas

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 08:22 PM

Observer Pro and sky safari. Low cost and very useful

#7 CelestronDaddy

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 10:24 PM

Give Astroplanner a try.

+1

#8 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 09:10 AM

Skytools 3 is not free... but I believe it is the best, most complete, most accurate planning software available and well worth the money.

I am just like everyone else, willing to spend money on another eyepiece that I will use every so often but reluctant to spend $100 on software that will make a much bigger difference to my evening's enjoyment.

If you are double star observer, it's almost a necessity because it computes the orbits of short period binaries, it get them right...

Jon

#9 CJK

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 12:13 PM

+1 (actually, more like +100) for Sky Tools 3

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#10 Lane

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 07:28 PM

In regard to Sky Tools 3 pricing:
Ten of us got together from our astronomy club and arranged to get copies of Sky Tools 3 at a reduced price. The only requirement was a minumum of 10 orders that would all be shipped together to the same address. The discount was significant, I got the $179 pro version for nearly 50% off.

Not the easiest software to learn, best to have someone that owns it give you a quick demonstration. Once you catch on to the way they do things in Sky Tools it makes perfect sense, but it is not immediately obvious how to use it. If you buy it and have trouble, come back here for help.

#11 hvalentim

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 06:39 PM

Another good option covering pretty much everything you ask for (and free):
http://www.univers-a...erateur-soiree/

#12 Denimsky

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 12:18 AM

I love SkyTools 3 Pro as well. I use it to plan observing and imaging sessions.

#13 Madratter

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 09:57 PM

Another vote for SkyTools 3. I have the standard version. I am so glad I spent the money for it. I also have Sky Safari and Observer Pro. They are also very good programs. But if I had to have only one, it would be SkyTools 3.

#14 Mike Phillips

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 04:03 PM

KStars - opensource and I think windows 'compatible'

Mike

#15 Ed Wiley

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 05:45 PM

Not free by any measure, but Skytools3 is my choice.

Ed

#16 Brent Campbell

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 05:51 PM

I have tried Astroplanner-I like the interface but it could use a better connection to the planetarium software. Combined with Stellairum the interface is real powerful. A nice (but missing) feature would be at least a picture of the object. It didn't even have that in the default catalog. Is that something that is rectified in the non-demo version?

I could not install Kstars (didn't work) will try more tonight.

The starter version of Skytools 3 looks interesting but I would have liked it better if I could download the standard edition with limitations for demo purposes. The biggest issue that I have with Skytools is spending $100.00 sight uunseen and not sure which program I like better, it or Astro planner. I am also looking at Deep Sky Planner this week as well.

#17 kolsen

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 02:19 PM

Brent,

About a year ago I was in the same position as you. I didn't want to spend a lot of money on software. I tried most of the free ones and demos of others.

Because of the high praise for Skytools 3 I decided to take the risk and bought it. I'm so glad I did. It makes planning and scope control a breeze.

#18 Photobud

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 02:07 PM

Another good option covering pretty much everything you ask for (and free):
http://www.univers-a...erateur-soiree/


Very nice, but hard time finding location for United States, found it under the French name, Etats-Unis! :foreheadslap:

#19 Photobud

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 03:00 PM

KStars - opensource and I think windows 'compatible'

Mike

Loaded and ran okay, but a little klutzy and some problems with graphics (change from N to E and horizon is tilted at 45°. Can't tell easily where zenith is. Filters don't seem to work as expected. Showed objects that were not visible during time span entered. Plotted points do not show name under cursor unless you move the display slightly. Will keep trying it to see if it's just me! :crazy:

#20 Mike Phillips

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 03:58 PM

Loaded and ran okay, but a little klutzy and some problems with graphics (change from N to E and horizon is tilted at 45°. Can't tell easily where zenith is. Filters don't seem to work as expected. Showed objects that were not visible during time span entered. Plotted points do not show name under cursor unless you move the display slightly. Will keep trying it to see if it's just me! :crazy:


I don't like it much as a planetarium package, I use CdC for that. I like it for observation planning. Supposedly it supports OAL for logging too, but I've not tried to set it up as defining the equipment is kludgy too.

Mike

#21 rmollise

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 09:47 AM

To be honest, if you need planning software that will work, bite the bullet, pay a few dollars and get a good program.

What do I use:

SkyTools 3. I use the Professional version, but it is available in a less expensive edition that is all many folks need.

Deep-Sky Planner. It is an excellent program that just keeps getting better.

;)

#22 CounterWeight

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:09 PM

Another +1 for Skytools3, our club got together and made an order and I decided for the pro level. Worth every penny IMO and it is 'deep'. There used to be some video tut's about using in different ways. The tri-view and fov/equip customization, nightly planner and noteboard / image, sky and area, interactive atlas, and yes that double star info... took me a bit to find and understand - what is great is it's all integrated and pretty seamless, easy to bounce around in.

#23 RandallK

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:43 PM

Apart from the ridiculous program registration process, Deep Sky Planner Version 6 is very good and interfaces with Starry Night. I think I paid around US $70.00






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