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Skytools 3 worth ???

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#76 rmollise

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 03:31 PM

I find that after having used SkyTools for some years, I just don't like squinting at an onscreen chart when I can go from one object to the next in a list. I can pull up SkyTools 3's charts when I need to--and they are some of the very best in the business--but only when I HAVE to. ;)

#77 GShaffer

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 11:37 AM

I only recently entered the SkyTools world....and am still discovering its use. There IS a bit of a learning curve but the more I use it, the more I like it.....I can also say the same thing about SkySafari....As someone else stated they really arent the same thing and both have their uses.

#78 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 02:38 PM

I find that after having used SkyTools for some years, I just don't like squinting at an onscreen chart when I can go from one object to the next in a list. I can pull up SkyTools 3's charts when I need to--and they are some of the very best in the business--but only when I HAVE to. ;)


Some of us use one crutch, (GOTO), some of us use another (Charts) I am liking Sky Safari Pro on my tablet out under the night sky and Alex's ScreenDim is very helpful in getting the screen brightness down to acceptable levels...

Jon

#79 rmollise

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 02:42 PM

I like SkySafari just fine, Jon, but I don't find it overly useful for taking on anything but casual observing. When working on a fairly involved observing project, the difference between success and failure is organization, organization, organization. And for me _any planetarium_ comes up short in that regard.

;)

I don't believe either is a "crutch"...the alternative for finding an object whose location you don't know is what? ESP? :lol:

#80 Lane

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 07:56 PM

I think of Sky Tools as a great way to sit at my desk and plan what I want to look at in my next viewing session, but that is where it ends for me. I put those objects into Sky Safari observing lists on my iPad and use that at the eyepiece.

If I could only have one of them I would have Sky Safari not Sky Tools because I find that Sky Tools puts so much information on a single screen that I need at least a 17" laptop to view it all comfortably without straining my eyes and I just don't want to carry a big laptop like that out into the field. Heck, I don't even want to carry a netbook out there after using the iPad.

#81 Sarkikos

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 08:35 PM

Can Sky Tools generate a list in Sky Safari format that can be used immediately under Sky Safari? Or do you have to print out the Sky Tools list and enter it manually while running Sky Safari? IMHO, this is a roundabout and kludgy way to do things. Not that I haven't done this sort of thing before, and I'm doing it even now.

But it IS roundabout and kludgy. :p

Klunky and kudgy. Things could be better.
:grin:
Mike

#82 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 12:21 AM

I like SkySafari just fine, Jon, but I don't find it overly useful for taking on anything but casual observing. When working on a fairly involved observing project, the difference between success and failure is organization, organization, organization. And for me _any planetarium_ comes up short in that regard.

;)

I don't believe either is a "crutch"...the alternative for finding an object whose location you don't know is what? ESP? :lol:


Honestly, I don't know what the heck you are talking about. If I don't know the location of an object is, I figure it out. Sky Safari seems to be worthwhile for that.

From where I sit, the key to the success is simply having fun... I leave the test matrices and experimental plans at work.

Jon Isaacs

#83 rmollise

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 07:38 AM

Different strokes, I reckon. IMHO the charts on ST3 are--as might be expected--parsecs ahead of (the very nice) SkySafari maps.

#84 knightware

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 08:53 AM

Mike et al,

You can convert Deep-Sky Planner observing plans directly to Sky Safari observing lists, now for all platforms of Sky Safari 3. The most recent release of Sky Safari resolved some problems with list import on Mac & iOS platforms, and brought it into Android for the first time.

You might also like to read about the user interface in Deep-Sky Planner. It adheres to Windows logo guidelines. See: http://knightware.bi...ease_of_use.htm

#85 CounterWeight

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 10:57 AM

Also late to this thread. I started using ST3 in the last few years and have used I think all the other planteariums, plotters, and list generators over the last 15 or so years? Some more than others. I've found skytools3 pro to be extremely robust and really an exemplar tool in as many ways as I have tried to use it. Agree with Rod about the charts / charting, they are really very nice. It does take some getting used to as it operates in an completely different way then all the other planetarium tools I've used, maybe you can say it's in reverse order to the 'point and click' crowd. The 3-view is fantastic, I've input all my scopes and a few others for comparison purposes, same goes for ep's. The results are fantastic and most important to me they are extremely useful, reliable, and realistic within the envelope of what the software claims to do.

For dialing in on anything, It has fantastic capabilities - doubles/multiple systems I found myself learning some new things! The ASCOM mount integration I've found problem free (though I only started using that in the last 6 months -and it's suggested you do modify the update on screen list , yada, yada) I have used it extensively with the imaging calculator and the interactive atlas and exposure calculator - again I rate as fantastic.

I've never found it difficult to learn anything about the software or how to customize a list or views, change fonts/labels/colors on the various views it can generate. I haven't wanted this program to 'be like' any other, as I've had a long road, and used Burnahms for ages it seems, and I can call up (or generate) lists as in those books with ease and 'dial in on' whatever I choose. The ablitiy to right click on something of interest in the interactive view is superb (and I appreciate the way the information is laid out in the pop up). Too many features I find very useful / helpful to list! I do sometimes disagree with the eyepiece it suggests from my ep library for optimum vieweing but that is pretty small potatoes (and comes down more to personal preference?) compared to the immense amount it does beyond my expectations.

In my emails to Skyhound and interactions with the yahoo group, responses have been helpful, friendly, informative and prompt - can't ask for more there. If your looking for a planetarium like experience it may seem a bit upside down (at the very start) but like any great software once you fit the harness it's really IMO a fantastic piece of astro-ware. Form the start I felt skytools was made as a serious observing tool made to help in this hobby rather than to cash in on it with some point and click wow! factor (though under the hood it has that in spades), and considering that - it's very much a bargain IMO. Whatever small limitations there are end up being in the historical way the information was gathered (and what with) for the catalogs and databases it draws from (even here they include a 'quality' rating for both the co-ord's and photometric data mag values based on), but IMO not the software used to exploit that data.

#86 Sarkikos

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 04:12 PM

OK, can I get a direct answer to this question:

Can Sky Tools generate observing lists that can be used in Sky Safari?

However, I believe that I've already received my answer, since no one has mentioned that this is possible, but have directed me to other programs that can do it.

Though I would have preferred a direct answer.

Mike

#87 rmollise

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 06:55 PM

The answer on the SkyTools side is _no_. There is no specific function to generate an observing list for iOS devices.

#88 Sarkikos

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 09:46 PM

Sorry, I should have specified the Android version of Sky Safari. I have an Asus Transformer. No Apple products here, at least none that must be bought. (I don't like Apple, but that's for another thread, or maybe not.)

But I suppose that Sky Tools will not generate observing lists for any version of Sky Safari. Is that correct?

Mike

#89 theskyhound

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 12:34 AM

Sorry, I should have specified the Android version of Sky Safari. I have an Asus Transformer. No Apple products here, at least none that must be bought. (I don't like Apple, but that's for another thread, or maybe not.)

But I suppose that Sky Tools will not generate observing lists for any version of Sky Safari. Is that correct?

Mike


Hi Mike,

I've had a couple of inquiries recently about exporting observing lists for SkySafari. But I don't own any Apple products so I wasn't very familiar with it and supporting an export was not a very high priority. But when you mentioned that there was an Android version, that got my attention! I installed it on my tablet and it's a nice little planetarium program. I very much like the attention to detail and I was surprised by how many telescopes it supports.

Anyhow, I'm looking at the SkySafari observing list file format now and it looks pretty simple. I'm working on an update for SkyTools 3 and I intend to add the ability to export observing lists in the SkySafari format. It really helps that I have something I can test it on. It should be ready in the next few weeks. There are some caveats though. SkyTools has a much larger database. If you try to export a Sharpless object or Palomar globular it may not work. In general how well this works in practice is going to depend entirely on how well SkySafari does at recognizing objects based on the designations provided.

Clear skies,
Greg

#90 rmollise

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 07:41 AM

Sorry, I should have specified the Android version of Sky Safari. I have an Asus Transformer. No Apple products here, at least none that must be bought. (I don't like Apple, but that's for another thread, or maybe not.)

But I suppose that Sky Tools will not generate observing lists for any version of Sky Safari. Is that correct?

Mike


Have not a clue about Android or any of its apps. Sorry.

#91 knightware

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 07:57 AM

Greg,

You're right that an object in your database may not be in the SkySafari database. The depth of the database in SkySafari depends on the edition (Basic/Plus/Pro).

I think you'll find that objects in the import list that aren't matched in the SkySafari database are simply skipped - that is, the import process continues instead of terminating.

You should also find that the latest release of SkySafari brings the same level of support for importing observing lists to all platforms, which makes testing a little easier.

#92 Sarkikos

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 08:31 AM

Greg,

I've had a couple of inquiries recently about exporting observing lists for SkySafari. But I don't own any Apple products so I wasn't very familiar with it and supporting an export was not a very high priority. But when you mentioned that there was an Android version, that got my attention! I installed it on my tablet and it's a nice little planetarium program. I very much like the attention to detail and I was surprised by how many telescopes it supports.


Yes, the Android version of Sky Safari is a recent addition. I see that not all of us have entered the Apple orchard. ;) I like Sky Safari on my Transformer tablet very much. It is fast and stable on my Android. None of my mounts have goto or DSCs, but I see that SS does support many different scopes and mounts. My prime use for SS is to aid me in star hops to objects I want to observe, maintain observing lists, and give me an accurate alternative to hardcopy atlases. SS also provides easy, immediate access to information for DSO and stars, and photos for many of them.

One of my top priorities was the ability to run the software on a light-weight Android tablet, so I could use it right at the eyepiece to aid me in my star hops. Even a mini-laptop is too heavy for this usage. IME, many observers with large Dobs still do not have goto or DSCs. (My largest scope is "only" a 10-inch, but I opted out of goto to save me a large chunk of the cost.) Now if you could someday port SkyTools to Android... :poke: :grin:

Anyhow, I'm looking at the SkySafari observing list file format now and it looks pretty simple. I'm working on an update for SkyTools 3 and I intend to add the ability to export observing lists in the SkySafari format. It really helps that I have something I can test it on. It should be ready in the next few weeks.


Yes, that would be very nice. SkyTools has an impressive ability to generate observing lists tailored to the user's needs.

There are some caveats though. SkyTools has a much larger database. If you try to export a Sharpless object or Palomar globular it may not work. In general how well this works in practice is going to depend entirely on how well SkySafari does at recognizing objects based on the designations provided.


I've noticed that when I do a simple search under SkySafari Pro for "collinder" or "trumpler", etc., to generate a list, there are missing objects. Also, there appears to be a cutoff at 1000 objects for any one list. This is probably a good thing, except that there doesn't seem to be a way to use AND / OR logic to refine the search, so the result gives some objects I don't really want and truncates others.

In addition, some NGC numbers are listed together within the same object group. This results in searches sometimes pulling up a different NGC number than the one asked for in the search. The skylist file can be edited later, however, to place whichever NGC number you want first, so it will be the number that appears in the observing list display under Sky Safari. That is a kludgy way to have to go about it, though.

But at my level of experience, where I'm still working my way through the H400 and H400 II lists, and venturing into the Herschel 3's, Sky Safari is an excellent program and I recommend it highly.

Mike

#93 Shadowalker

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 11:19 AM

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#94 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 11:34 PM

Anyhow, I'm looking at the SkySafari observing list file format now and it looks pretty simple. I'm working on an update for SkyTools 3 and I intend to add the ability to export observing lists in the SkySafari format. It really helps that I have something I can test it on. It should be ready in the next few weeks.



:waytogo:

Greg:

That is simply wonderful. I use Skytools to look for interesting doubles and then SkySafari Pro to find them out under the night sky. The ability to export a list to Skysafari, that will be much used.

I don't know how much information can be in the list but if the brightnesses, separations and PA were included, that would be awesome.

Jon


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