Software running both on traditional PCs or mobile devices like phones or tablets makes finding, observing and astro objects much easier.

Here’s some of BINTEL’s favourite programs and apps – feel free to suggest yours as well!

TheSky Astronomy Software is one of the most popular star chart and telescope control programs available. There are several versions that are range from suiting serious beginners right through to full observatory control.

Software Bisque also offer versions for PC, Mac and other platforms.

You can find out more TheSky here.

 

 

 

 

Star Walk is one of the most popular astronomy apps we see our being used by our BINTEL customers. It’s available for Apple iOS and Android.

This powerful app draws real-time interactive sky maps on the screen of your phone and lets you enjoy stars, planets, and constellations.

You can see what astro objects are visible from your location and determine the best time for observation to plan your night out. It also features what amounts to an “Encyclopedia of the Sky” that’s full of interesting facts about what’s in the night sky and special events – handy for those who thrive on learning.

It also has a news section that keeps you up to date with astronomy and space news and sends you notifications about happenings ahead of time.

You can find Star Walk on your app store or read more at https://starwalk.space/en

 

 

Stellarium is an extremely popular astronomy program available on PC, web or mobile devices including Android and Apple iOS. The PC desktop versions are free, but there’s a small charge for the mobile versions. They’re good value and well worth the purchase price if you’re a keen astronomer.

It’s one of the best programs for viewing what’s up in the night sky and also offers advanced features like telescope control. You can either install Stellarium on your device or run it a web browser for free.

If you’d like to try Stellarium, all you need to do it visit the web version at https://stellarium-web.org/ and check it out.

Many of the images we feature in the BINTEL weekly newsletter are generated by Stellarium.

 

Sky Map is a former Google program that is now open source and freely available on the Android app store.

Sky Map is another app that converts your smartphone or tablet into a mobile planetarium. It doesn’t have telescope control but uses your phone’s many sensors to work out where you’re located. It displays a detailed star map in the direction the device is pointed. The map it displays includes the constellations, the names of stars and planets. A very handy companion to learn the night sky – point your phone running the app at any part of the sky and it will show you what you’re looking at.  (As is uses the phone’s sensors and not a live view via the phone’s camera, Sky Map is not impacted by clouds. We even had a fun time the BINTEL shop pointing a phone at the floor and it showing that’s where the North Celestial Pole is located!)

 

Another popular app that’s served the astronomical community for many years is SkySafari from Simulation Curriculum.

SkySafari is great for telescope control as well as viewing what’s up in the night sky and even receiving notifications for special events like shadow transits, solar eclipses, lunar phases, planetary occultations and much more.

There are several versions up to SkySafari Pro which includes over 100 million stars, 3 million galaxies down to 18th magnitude, and 750,000 solar system objects; including every comet and asteroid ever discovered. Plus, state of the art mobile telescope control.

Your telescope mightn’t be able to see all these astro objects but it’s a cool way to see where they are!

Find out more here – https://skysafariastronomy.com/

 

Another range of software for Simulation Curriculum is the Starry Night series. These are desktop/notebook programs that you download and install. Again, they will show you illustrations of how the night sky will look for any location, date, or time.  The latest version has major upgrades to its catalog and image libraries.  Starry Night Pro Plus will even directly control Celestron telescopes with Wi-Fi such as the Celestron NexStar Evolution range.

Find out more about Starry Night here.

 

 

Getting into the area of more powerful combined sky-catalogue and equipment control applications, N.I.N.A. –  which is short for Nighttime Imaging ‘N’ Astronomy – has been adopted by many astronomers lately.

It describes itself as a system for automating the imaging of deep sky objects but offers much more. It has complete control over telescopes mounts, cameras, filter wheels, electronic focusers, weather devices and any many other devices

There’s a range of optional plugins and image libraries too. Find out more at https://nighttime-imaging.eu/

 

Celestron CPWI is an advanced, specialised telescope control program produced in conjunction by Celestron and PlaneWave Instruments. This work with all new Celestron computerized telescope mounts. Celestron PWI (CPWI) Telescope Control Software unleashes the full pointing accuracy of your new Celestron computerized telescope.  It’s also free to download and use

CPWI employs PointXP mount modeling, which accepts numerous star alignment points for superior pointing accuracy. PointXP (the same technology found in our StarSense AutoAlign accessory) goes beyond the pointing capability of a traditional hand control. By adding multiple star alignment points, CPWI accounts for various types of alignment errors, including instrument flexure. The result is the best possible pointing accuracy for your Celestron telescope.

As mentioned – this is advanced software and might time to fully set up. Find out more about CPWI here – https://www.celestron.com/pages/celestron-pwi-telescope-control-software

 

 

Special Old School mention – MegaStar 5 is a Windows based program that runs on just about any Windows based PC. While it’s older technology going back to the 1990s, it’s still an effective way to view a very a detailed view of the night sky.  MegaStar 5  is now free to download use You can download it from here https://archive.org/download/mega-star-5/MegaStar5.zip

 

 

 

There’s a stack of other apps out there. What are some of your favourites?

We’ll cover image capture and processing software shortly.

Cheers,

 

Earl White

BINTEL

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