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Astroplanner vs Skytools?

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#1 rsraney


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Posted 04 July 2014 - 07:06 PM

I've been using Astroplanner for about 5 years and I love the information and cataloging it provides but even after all the hours of use it feels as if something is missing and 'clunky'. It's not slow or incarcerate, just 'off' and hard to navigate when distracted.

A friend of my uses Skytools and suggested I should try it after hearing me grumble.

I'm not sure what advantages Skytools might have over Astroplanner.

What I am looking for is a Win/Linux application for :

- Session planning based on major catalogs, major and minor bodies, comets/asteroids, and maybe satellites. Astroplanner can display best viewing time with Rise and transit times.

- Observational logging with easy entry and searching for previous logs.

- Finder View and Eyepiece views based on equipment. I currently have no need to go past Mag 13.00. I'm lucky in the Redzone I live in to see 12.2

- Built in Atlas, or the ability to connect to a atlas program like Skychart.

- Possible Lunar mapping / observation logging.

- Printing of previous logs, charts, and logs for use in the field.

How do people feel about Skytools or other applications?

#2 rmollise



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Posted 05 July 2014 - 10:53 AM

They are both excellent programs. I used AstroPlanner for YEARS and was incredibly happy with it. For Mac folks, it is the way to go, no ifs-ands-buts.

I use SkyTools now, however, and have for quite a while. It seems to run a little more smoothly on my humble computers. One big strength it has is an incredible built-in atlas, which I prefer.

All in all, it's a subjective thing and often just what you are used to. I am used to Skytools and Deep Sky Planner and they are about all I use anymore. ;)

#3 semiosteve


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Posted 21 July 2014 - 10:38 AM

I have used SkyTools for years. It does everything you are asking except detailed lunar mapping. Be aware though ANY tool that has as many functions as SkyTools requires a learning curve. And NO tool has a perfect user interface.

The real "ease of use" issues seem to depend on how well the tool designer leverages the known, standard UI functions for that platform (e.g. Windows vs IOS for example) and how familiar the user is with that Platform. An IOS iPad user will find SkyTools awkward just as a Windows laptop user may struggle with a tablet based tool.

Generally I would argue that the more functionality you require, the more you have to go back to a PC/Mouse/Keyboard arrangement vs. a tablet interface.

SkyTools is not perfect, but it has very rich, complete functionality. I think it works best with a larger flat screen monitor for that reason.

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