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TheSkyX vs Stellarium

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#1 IanD

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Posted 12 December 2014 - 09:09 PM

I've been running my telescope with StellariumScope for the past 2 or 3 years and lately I've been thinking of upgrading to The SkyX.  I don't really have any complaints about the Stellarium telescope control so before I lay out the money I thought I see if anyone has any thoughts.  Stellarium is free (always a good thing).  The SkyX is not.  Anyone want to weigh in on whether or not its worth upgrading?



#2 Ken Sturrock

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Posted 13 December 2014 - 12:41 AM

I, personally, use SkyX and am pleased with it. I use "Professional" on a Macintosh to run a mount and camera. I use "student" on a Windows 8 machine when I'm on the road and just want to look stuff up. I could have used a free program like Stellarium or Star Charts on the Windows machine but the Student version of SkyX was cheap and I didn't want to screw around with a different interface. I have used Bisque software for a long time and I like the company. Moreover, as a local-to-me company, I felt that I had a duty to support them...

 

Having used Stellarium in the past, I think that SkyX is more powerful and everything is integrated but it is also more complicated. If you are currently happy with Stellarium, however, why would you upgrade? Stellarium is a really nice program.

 

Before you go the SkyX route, do a little research to make sure that people who use your same equipment are happy. Like you, I use an ST-2000XM and it works well with SkyX but I have never used your mounts or other cameras.


Edited by Ken Sturrock, 13 December 2014 - 12:45 AM.


#3 CHAPSKINS

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Posted 23 December 2014 - 05:09 AM

I'm an OSX user and have had a nightmare with TheSky X. I've found it anything but pro. From the constant erroneous error messages that pop up like "wack-a-mole" to the utter lack of support for StarSense with the obligatory "we're fixin it"...for like a year!!!

 

The downloads are a joke, they can't even get the correct file structure right which is an unnecessary headache of having to use a third party web source to be able to mount a disk image on my machine. 

 

Ive used plenty of pro applications in my time, and as far as I'm concerned TheSky X just isn't pro in the slightest.

 

.



#4 rmollise

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Posted 23 December 2014 - 10:34 AM

Stellarium is a nice freeware program. Underline that twice. TheSkyX--the Serious/Pro editions anyhow--are on a whole other level, however. More objects, more tools, more attractive graphics, better user interface. To be honest, I even prefer the lowest of the low TheSkyX edition, "First Light" to Stellarium. I have found Bisque's support second to none. But the good news is that the learning curve on "X" is far less steep than on the previous "6"....and the program is even more solid. Recommended. :FarmerRon:



#5 CHAPSKINS

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Posted 23 December 2014 - 01:26 PM

Stellarium is a nice freeware program. Underline that twice. TheSkyX--the Serious/Pro editions anyhow--are on a whole other level, however. More objects, more tools, more attractive graphics, better user interface. To be honest, I even prefer the lowest of the low TheSkyX edition, "First Light" to Stellarium. I have found Bisque's support second to none. But the good news is that the learning curve on "X" is far less steep than on the previous "6"....and the program is even more solid. Recommended. :FarmerRon:

 

You must be a Windows user, here on a Mac it's not such a bed or roses, more like a bed of nails tipped with broken promises.

 

The most crash happy piece of 'supposed' pro software I've ever had the misfortune to use. I've just updated to the latest build, so I'll see if it's improved from the brain ache that it gave me in the summer months. Still no StarSense support which is a massive show stopper for me.

 

.


Edited by CHAPSKINS, 23 December 2014 - 01:27 PM.


#6 Ken Sturrock

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Posted 23 December 2014 - 02:28 PM

I have read your numerous comments on Cloudy Nights regarding SkyX and I fully understand the annoyance of unsupported equipment and the disappointment of slow development and release. If something is claimed to be supported and it's not, I'd be really annoyed too and I'm glad that you brought the issue up on the Bisque forum.

 

Contrary to your experience though, I have never had a crash with SkyX on two different Macintoshes running three different versions of OSX. I have certainly experienced fairly minor bugs in the UI and I am not always able to wrap my head around certain aspects of the program but it has always been reliable for me. I admit my system is simple.

 

Sorry you're having trouble.


Edited by Ken Sturrock, 23 December 2014 - 02:29 PM.


#7 CHAPSKINS

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Posted 23 December 2014 - 07:08 PM

I have read your numerous comments on Cloudy Nights regarding SkyX and I fully understand the annoyance of unsupported equipment and the disappointment of slow development and release. If something is claimed to be supported and it's not, I'd be really annoyed too and I'm glad that you brought the issue up on the Bisque forum.

 

Contrary to your experience though, I have never had a crash with SkyX on two different Macintoshes running three different versions of OSX. I have certainly experienced fairly minor bugs in the UI and I am not always able to wrap my head around certain aspects of the program but it has always been reliable for me. I admit my system is simple.

 

Sorry you're having trouble.

 

I know I've not been the politest when it comes to Software Bisque and should hold back. I've just picked up a new Mac just to rule that out. All of my periferalls when I do t use TheSk X seem to work find as standalone - very strange. 

 

On a positive note, after posting on Software Bisque's site today, they've just uploaded a new update that includes a StarSense fix, or so the update notes seem to suggest which is music to my ears. Maybe the fix will rid me of the strange behaviour that I've experienced over the last year.

 

I'm glad to hear that everything is working as it should for you on the Mac side of things. I'm sure when it works as it should it's marvellous software. 

 

.



#8 Ken Sturrock

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Posted 23 December 2014 - 07:20 PM

Fingers crossed...



#9 jackofalltrades

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Posted 23 December 2014 - 10:16 PM

You must be a Windows user, here on a Mac it's not such a bed or roses

 

I suppose the important thing to determine here is which platform and OS the OP that's asking for info is using.  I didn't see it mentioned anywhere.  If he or she is on Windows, wants a real step up from Stellarium, and doesn't mind "renting" software, then The Sky X would likely be a good choice.  But if he/she is on a Mac and Bisque is that bad on Mac, then my solution would be either a native install combo of AstroPlanner and CdC, or even better, a virtual machine running SkyTools.  Heck, my own preference on Windows is SkyTools over The Sky.  99% of the capabilities for a fraction of the cost, and a one time purchase price too, no rental for updates and patches.



#10 frolinmod

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Posted 24 December 2014 - 12:11 AM

The TheSkyX development team are all "Mac people." They all use Macs on a regular basis.



#11 CHAPSKINS

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Posted 24 December 2014 - 03:35 AM

The TheSkyX development team are all "Mac people." They all use Macs on a regular basis.

 

Now that does surprise me. I've read a fair few people's posts here and there where people have been as frustrated as I have been. It could well be a number of specific factors/ setups that only relates to specific users. Maybe the rest of the OS X user base everything goes along swimmingly.

 

I can only report from my own personal experience which, as I've already alluded to hasn't been that great, to the point where I lost all confidence in it and used separate standalone applications to get things playing nicely. Now, to be fair to Software Bisque, I've not used TheSky X since the summer as I'd just about given up on it. It might well be the case - which I hope - is that the updates have fixed the weird crashes, lock-up's and generally squirrelly behaviour that I'd experienced. 

 

After my little hissyfit on Software Bisque's support forum a fix has come for Celestrons StarSense - another user a few days or so before my post was a bit more angry than I was who ended up swearing on their site, I guess he/ she was as frustrated as I've felt who felt the need to let off some steam. Maybe the fix that came along after my moment on their forums was just pure coincidence, who knows, but at least some kinda headway has been made in respect of StarSense thankfully.

 

.


Edited by CHAPSKINS, 24 December 2014 - 03:39 AM.


#12 rmollise

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Posted 24 December 2014 - 10:27 AM

 

 

 

You must be a Windows user, here on a Mac it's not such a bed or roses, more like a bed of nails tipped with broken promises.

 

The most crash happy piece of 'supposed' pro software I've ever had the misfortune to use. I've just updated to the latest build, so I'll see if it's improved from the brain ache that it gave me in the summer months. Still no StarSense support which is a massive show stopper for me.

 

.

 

 

Not at all. While I've used it on Win PCs, I've also used it on Macs. Sorry you had a bad experience; mine was quite different. At any rate, as I said, there is really no comparison--it's just a far more capable program than Stellarium. ;)



#13 rmollise

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Posted 24 December 2014 - 10:29 AM

 

 

I suppose the important thing to determine here is which platform and OS the OP that's asking for info is using.  I didn't see it mentioned anywhere.  If he or she is on Windows, wants a real step up from Stellarium, and doesn't mind "renting" software, then The Sky X would likely be a good choice.  But if he/she is on a Mac and Bisque is that bad on Mac, then my solution would be either a native install combo of AstroPlanner and CdC, or even better, a virtual machine running SkyTools.  Heck, my own preference on Windows is SkyTools over The Sky.  99% of the capabilities for a fraction of the cost, and a one time purchase price too, no rental for updates and patches.

 

 

There's no "renting." If you choose not to subscribe, the software is still as usable as it was when you bought it.



#14 jackofalltrades

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Posted 24 December 2014 - 10:45 AM

True Rod, but you still have to subscribe for updates and patches/fixes which should be included in the purchase price IMO. So to me it's still "paying rent".



#15 rmollise

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Posted 24 December 2014 - 03:49 PM

You get a full year "free," and at this point in the cycle, there are probably not going to be a lot of fixes to TheSkyX. It's a mature product. ;)



#16 pjglad

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Posted 24 December 2014 - 08:29 PM

Actually, I like the TheSkyX pricing model. Instead of paying north of $150 for the next version of Starry Night, you pay a modest annual fee for updates and product enhancements.



#17 CHAPSKINS

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Posted 25 December 2014 - 05:45 AM

 

 

 

 

You must be a Windows user, here on a Mac it's not such a bed or roses, more like a bed of nails tipped with broken promises.

 

The most crash happy piece of 'supposed' pro software I've ever had the misfortune to use. I've just updated to the latest build, so I'll see if it's improved from the brain ache that it gave me in the summer months. Still no StarSense support which is a massive show stopper for me.

 

.

 

 

Not at all. While I've used it on Win PCs, I've also used it on Macs. Sorry you had a bad experience; mine was quite different. At any rate, as I said, there is really no comparison--it's just a far more capable program than Stellarium. ;)

 

 

Undoubtably Bob, undoubtably. 

 

TheSky X is packed full of features, from dome control to auto guiding etc, all under one application. With the myriad of all the different manufactures out there, incorporating everything seamlessly is no small feat. 

 

On the yearly front:

 

The only thing that put me off was the annual subscription, other companies do similar, the likes of Waves audio plugins are a prime example of this which has many detractors because of their yearly fee and outrageous prices. Adobe has a renting system on the go now whereby you can pay monthly or yearly to use their software. As a long time Apple user - not a fanboy - they haven't gone down this route fortunately. I've got quite a few Apple applications like Logic Pro that works flawlessly which I've never had to pay for the updates, just a onetime payment for the newest release which usually comes two to four years down the line. Currently Logic X (the newest release) is selling for £140. I can see the logic in the argument that Software Bisque's pricing includes the next release instead of starting from scratch again, but I just feel a tad uneasy about the whole gig and would much rather pay nothing for the updates and not be used as a beta tester, and instead pay for a new version as I saw fit. I'm still using the last version of Logic Pro, and I'm very happy with it as it's extremely stable and very, very capable, just missing the latest features which I'm not likely to use.

 

Anyways...

 

This latest build of TheSky X is much more stable and didn't fall over whilst I was using it last night - I didn't get as far as syncing the mount to TheSky X last night as I had a auto focuser that failed. It was receiving the messages sent from the application, but the focuser kept locking up and wouldn't move, I belive its a problem with the focuser itself with gears not engaging properly and not a software related issue - more agro...

 

Ive got to say, since getting into this astronomy malarkey, I've never encountered so many problems which are not just time consuming but highly irritating/ frustrating. If I was going full remote, like some guys on here like Per, I'd have to employ someone full time to fix my never ending list of things that don't work... Oh the joys lol.

 

.



#18 jedimasterk

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Posted 28 December 2014 - 02:59 AM

I like Stellarium. Truely multiplatform. It works with Linux natively, and is updated frequently. TheSKY X was suppose to be ported to Linux. I seen it running on Ubuntu at NEAF, while it was in development. But sadly it was never ported.



#19 NickK-UK

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Posted 02 January 2015 - 05:45 AM

I like Stellarium. Truely multiplatform. It works with Linux natively, and is updated frequently. TheSKY X was suppose to be ported to Linux. I seen it running on Ubuntu at NEAF, while it was in development. But sadly it was never ported.

 

 

Hmm..

 

My experience of TheSkyX on OS X, from a plugin development perspective, is that it suffers if the plugins or drivers have bugs (i.e. instant crash of the application) but at the same time there are aspects of X2 that I find very frustrating as the protocol makes some assumptions on how devices should operate.

 

Anyway - my ATIK OS X and Ubuntu drivers and all-new plugin rewrite for TheSkyX plugin should be available in January :D Currently finishing the Setting window to allow selection of cameras (i.e. if you have three ATIK 414ex etc you can select which camera to use). However the current OS X plugin captures, temp control and guiding are there - just a few bits to assist those with multiple ATIK cameras connected.

 

In operation - my view of software is that it should just work. No hassle and no aggravation. There's too little precious imaging time anyway!

 

My concern with Linux is the support and the amount of time it takes the user and developer - it becomes a problem as there are so many different versions, so many alterations that installed software makes without the user understanding etc. The worst case scenario is that a user recompiles a dependancy then finds it doesn't work with the application whereas other applications work - over night the software fails and you're left with an annoyed customer.

 

I like Stellarium. It works. I also like Aladin for the same reason. I admire people that provide their time and software for free - including the selfless release of source code. However what I dislike about some open source developers is that they take the position that you have to release your source for free too or they get almost irate over it. It should be possible for software to be released/supported without being open sourced - either on NDA or commercial grounds.

 

What I did notice about TheSkyX is how fast it is compared to Stellarium. The only time I got speed out of Stellarium is when I recompiled it (this was along time ago when 64bit was new). Also Stellarium is good for finding things by skewing.. it's not a capture app at the present time. So they're two separate things. I did think about making a version of Stellarium's star database GPU OpenCL for maximum speed.. but then you bump into the problem that not everyone has lots of GPU memory - so you're back to the lowest common denominator.. hence the slow speed. On Mac you have a smaller range of targets so you have a better opportunity to optimise..


Edited by NickK-UK, 02 January 2015 - 06:07 AM.


#20 GJJim

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Posted 03 January 2015 - 11:34 AM

Most of these issues boil down to the fact that developers have a tough time using OS X as a device controller. Apple simply does not provide the APIs and tools equivalent to what's available on Windows. On iOS, Apple initially discouraged its use for device control, but there has been a slight improvement in the latest release.

 

I think the future for SB software is going to involve some inexpensive but powerful hardware that acts as a shim between the whacko world of USB and serial ports and the actual program running on various platforms. SB's Richard Wright has hinted at this device and calls it (unofficially) SkyBox. The device would essentially be ASCOM/INDI in a tiny box. It would connect the world of gadgets to TSX.


Edited by GJJim, 03 January 2015 - 11:38 AM.


#21 tmwhite

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Posted 12 February 2015 - 09:44 PM

I use stellarium for my vx mount as telescope #1 can I use stellarium to see my push to mount using a ngc sky vector by lumicon as telescope #2 and if so how do I configure it , right now I have to switch between stellarum and the sky version 5.01 to use both scopes at the same time, not to big of a deal would be nice not to have to swap between programs, does the sky x support more than 1 telescope control at a time...if not I will not upgrade from my ancient? sky program its a 100 dollar upgrade. any help out there... I like stellarium but its star labels and messier objects are mostly greek to me , that's about the only downside , I have only been using stellarium for six  months or so the sky on the other hand for about 15 + years ,push to ultima 9.25 on a pier very nice, :)  avx mount very good with c6r and a pier extension on stock tripod , I use a asus laptop i5 lapytop for both setups, any body with my same situation?thanks in advance. clear skies from Colorado springs,Tim. hope I posted in correct forum :undecided:




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