The use of astronomy software can help you in locating and observing astronomical objects as well as helping you learn more about them.
One of the primary reasons to use astronomy software is to make better use of the time you have available.
By establishing a plan to observe astronomical objects before the observing session starts will enable you to reduce the time taken to locate astronomical objects during the course of an observing session.
There are of course other benefits to be gained, such as identifying unknown objects discovered during an observing session and understanding more about the character of the objects which are being observed.
There are a number of different astronomy software programs available to help you find your way around the night sky using your pc, some are open source which means you can download them for free whilst others have a cost attached.
The Star Walk 5 Stars Astronomy Guide is a great app for your iPhone, enabling you to see the stars and constellations in real time.
Stellarium is a free open source planetarium for your computer. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope. It is being used in planetarium projectors. You can download it from their main site
Deepsky is a collection of observer friendly software tools made to make your observing sessions more enjoyable and productive.
This can show you which objects are visible on a given night, allow you to create start charts. view photographs of galaxies, nebula, and other objects.
Additionally with Deepsky you can log your observations or enter them into a journal, and view real-time information on the Sun, Moon, and Planets.
SkyTools Nightly Planner looks to be an extremely powerful tool with several unique capabilities.
In a world full of planetarium and star charting programs, observing planners, and calculators, SkyTools is the first comprehensive software created from the ground up entirely for the purpose of observing.
Available in standard and professional versions certainly looks the business. There is a video overview at Skyhound . Well worth watching...
Cartes du Ciel is a handy piece of free software that enables you to draw sky charts, making use of the data in 16 catalogs of stars and nebulae. In addition the position of planets, asteroids andcomets are shown. You can also control a telescope and print outstar charts.
DeepSkyStacker is a freeware for astrophotographers that simplifies all the pre-processing steps of deep sky pictures.You can create stunning deep sky images with this very popular image stocking software
After a shooting night you give all your pictures (light frames, darks frames, offset/bias frames, flat frames) to DeepSkyStacker and you go to bed. The next morning you can see the result and start post-processing
Lunar Phase Pro
An observation planning tool for lunar observers or imagers, providing near photo-realistic views of the Lunar surface via the Lunar Explorer utility which can be printed as custom built maps.
Starry Night Astronomy Software
Starry Night is a great way to view the wonders of the universe from your computer
Free software from Microsoft that enables your computer to function as a virtual telescope allowing you to explore the universe right from your browser or PC.
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