Observing Software & Tools

Skytools 3
SkyTools is the only complete suite of software tools designed specifically for astronomical observing. Designed by an avid observer trained as a professional astronomer, each tool is second to none.

AstroPlanner is a software application for Macintosh and Windows computers that facilitates astronomical observation planning, visualisation and logging, as well as control of telescopes with computerised go-to mounts or digital setting circle controllers.


Stellarium - screen shot

This free interactive planetarium is of incredible quality given its (lack of) price, and will show you exactly what the night sky looks like from your back yard. Why do you need it? You can search for any object, even a satellite, and find out where it is, when it rises, and what it will look like through your bins or scope. Lovely.

Messier Log (xls)
A spreadsheet to record your observations of Messier objects and track completion of the list.

Telrad Finder charts (pdf)
Have a Telrad 1-power finder on your scope? Download this set of Messier object charts, courtesy of John Small at Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston – each object is marked with telrad rings to help you find it.

Jupiter Moon Transit Calculator
Sky & Telescope’s JavaScript utility shows the positions of the four Galilean satellites for any date and time from January 1900 through December 2100.  It displays a table of Jovian satellite phenomena, including transits of the moons (and/or their shadows) across the planet’s disk, occultations of the moons behind the planet, and eclipses of the moons by the planet’s shadow.

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