Author Topic: Best inexpensive Planetarium software?  (Read 349 times)

loasandkosem

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Best inexpensive Planetarium software?
« on: December 27, 2017, 10:25:29 AM »
I'm just entering the Astro-Physics world--which starts with no handy database such as Celestron mounts provide. So I'm looking for something to drive my Mach1.

I've used (sparsely) two free planetarium software in the past, Stellarium and Cartes Du Ciel. At this stage I am *not* interested in Maxim DL or The SkyX, mainly due to cost (that may change one day, but not soon).

Any other ones (preferably free or under $100) that you would recommend? (If you like Stellarium and/or CDC, please let me know). Software *must* have ASCOM telescope support.

I'm almost exclusively interested in Astrophotography, I will *not* have internet access while using my mount, and I use SGPro, so any software that SGPro might be able to access would have a tick in the plus column.



Duane Berhane

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Re: Best inexpensive Planetarium software?
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2017, 04:48:03 PM »
If you're OK with using an Android phone, SkySafari 5 plus works great with a Wifi-RS-232 converter by usconverters.com to control my CGEM mount. I just got this working yesterday. No internet is required, the WiFi converter generates its own access point, or your can direct it to another WiFi network. Here's 3 CN pages on the topic:https://www.cloudyni...-wi-fi-adapter/.

For the PC, I just downloaded C2A and it looks powerful, but a little busy. I suspect this might work for you and can drive scopes: http://www.astrosurf.com/c2a/english/

Wayne

gairiloocon

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Re: Best inexpensive Planetarium software?
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2017, 12:54:30 AM »
Not really into phone/Wifi software as I will have my Windows 10 laptop anyway. What I'm primarily interested in is seeing available targets (DSO's) so I can plan a session, then getting coordinates to feed into SGP.

Jose Melo

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Re: Best inexpensive Planetarium software?
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2017, 01:21:39 AM »
Like you I sometimes use Stellarium with StellariumScope or CdC. Stellarium can require an internet connection if it isn't a common object you are looking for but generally I find is stand alone.

However during an actual imaging session (very rare here in the UK) I don't tend to use either of them and just have the coordinates ready for what I want to image or use a previous sub if I am adding to existing data and do a goto/plate solve. I use APT for my goto/plate solving/data acquisition/focusing.

Why fart around with additional layers of software when you can just plug in the RA and DEC of where you want to go? I do tend to spend the entire night on the same object though so if you are after lots of objects rather than lots of subs then what I say may not be particularly suited to your situation.

aceslaise

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Re: Best inexpensive Planetarium software?
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2017, 11:45:28 PM »
Stellarium along with "Stellarium Scope" works fantastic with A-P mounts. Stellarium Scope allow you to control your mount using ASCOM driver.

Stellarium: http://www.stellarium.org
Stellarium Scope: http://welshdragonco...stellariumscope. Click on "Setup_StellariumScope 2016.12.26.exe" to download software.

1) After installing and running Stellarium Scope, click on "Update Stellarium Configuration" button. Answer "Yes" to every prompts. Then close and re-open Stellarium Scope.
2) Click on "Select mount" button and select AstroPhysicsV2.
3) Click on "JNow" because all A-P mounts' EPOCH uses JNow, not J2000.
4) Click on "Connect" button to connect to your mount. Make sure you have serial cable connected and selected appropriate COM port number in ASCOM driver.
5) After successful connection to the mount, click on "Start Stellarium" button and it will start Stellarium planetarium software.
6) After unparking your mount from Park 4 using ASCOM driver (you can unpark from 3 other park positions but Park 4 is best for initial slew to a star), select a star on Stellarium, then press "Ctrl-1" buttons of your laptop/computer keyboard. The mount should start slewing to a star you selected.
7) Pressing "Ctrl-3" buttons of your keyboard will "RCAL" on the object you slewed to.
8) Pressing "Ctrl-5" buttons of your keyboard will stop the slew.

You can easily do all that indoors.

Good luck.

Peter

trigitsipo

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Re: Best inexpensive Planetarium software?
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2018, 06:47:28 PM »
Quote
Stellarium along with "Stellarium Scope" works fantastic with A-P mounts. Stellarium Scope allow you to control your mount using ASCOM driver.

Stellarium: http://www.stellarium.org
Stellarium Scope: http://welshdragonco...stellariumscope. Click on "Setup_StellariumScope 2016.12.26.exe" to download software.

1) After installing and running Stellarium Scope, click on "Update Stellarium Configuration" button. Answer "Yes" to every prompts. Then close and re-open Stellarium Scope.
2) Click on "Select mount" button and select AstroPhysicsV2.
3) Click on "JNow" because all A-P mounts' EPOCH uses JNow, not J2000.
4) Click on "Connect" button to connect to your mount. Make sure you have serial cable connected and selected appropriate COM port number in ASCOM driver.
5) After successful connection to the mount, click on "Start Stellarium" button and it will start Stellarium planetarium software.
6) After unparking your mount from Park 4 using ASCOM driver (you can unpark from 3 other park positions but Park 4 is best for initial slew to a star), select a star on Stellarium, then press "Ctrl-1" buttons of your laptop/computer keyboard. The mount should start slewing to a star you selected.
7) Pressing "Ctrl-3" buttons of your keyboard will "RCAL" on the object you slewed to.
8) Pressing "Ctrl-5" buttons of your keyboard will stop the slew.

You can easily do all that indoors.

Good luck.

Peter

Thanks so much for the detailed instructions! Really appreciated.

ulatimhan

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Re: Best inexpensive Planetarium software?
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2018, 07:34:18 PM »
No problem and glad to help. Let us know how well it went or if you have issues.

Peter

David Collins

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Re: Best inexpensive Planetarium software?
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2018, 06:13:12 AM »
I like CdC, much simpler installation than just described.

Tyler King

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Re: Best inexpensive Planetarium software?
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2018, 10:29:52 PM »
Quote

For the PC, I just downloaded C2A and it looks powerful, but a little busy. I suspect this might work for you and can drive scopes: http://www.astrosurf.com/c2a/english/

Wayne

I use C2A with my new MACH1. Works great. A lot of features, can be somewhat overwhelming. Supports multiple catalogues. Works well via ASCOM. No integration with SGP that I know of (just started using SGP). I have added an overlay for my camera, so it will show me what will be within frame.

My only complaint is that I cannot use the mouse to "move the sky." have to use the arrow keys.

Robert Farley

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Re: Best inexpensive Planetarium software?
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2018, 01:54:39 PM »
I just downloaded and installed Cartes du Ciel (CdC) and it's not bad and pretty easy to use. I can't say it's better than Stellarium but it's different, that's all. No need to use another app like Stellarium Scope because CdC already includes ASCOM telescope control. I was able to slew to different objects with CdC pretty easily. I kind of like the looks of Stellarium sky chart a little better than CdC.

https://www.ap-i.net...art/en/download

Peter

Isaac Griffin

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Re: Best inexpensive Planetarium software?
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2018, 11:07:05 PM »
CdC for me. As I understand it, you can add any catalog that you want to it but I haven't tried it so YMMV.Go here...https://www.ap-i.net...ntation/catalog

and scroll down to VO catalogs. There you will find how to install over 9000 (!) different catalogs.

Chris Jiles

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Re: Best inexpensive Planetarium software?
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2018, 11:22:56 PM »
I've been using CDC for 9 years now; it works and it is easy to use.

Guylain

Chris Goldsby

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Re: Best inexpensive Planetarium software?
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2018, 01:13:48 AM »
Quote
I'm just entering the Astro-Physics world--which starts with no handy database such as Celestron mounts provide. So I'm looking for something to drive my Mach1.

At this stage I am *not* interested in Maxim DL or The SkyX, mainly due to cost
Am I the only one who sees the irony in those conflicting statements?

vojbuohautes

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Re: Best inexpensive Planetarium software?
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2018, 07:42:54 AM »
Stellarium and CdC are both OK; I've used CdC in the past but I don't like the interface. But you can't beat the price, so on Windows this is what I'd do.

The nicest planetarium software in my opinion is SkySafari. You can get it for the Mac. No Windows version though.

That said the old Starry Night Pro 4.5 was nice too (very much like SkySafari is today, and owned by the same company). The modern Starry Night is way too complex/busy/bloated.

malralilin

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Re: Best inexpensive Planetarium software?
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2018, 10:29:06 AM »
Quote
Quote

I'm just entering the Astro-Physics world--which starts with no handy database such as Celestron mounts provide. So I'm looking for something to drive my Mach1.

At this stage I am *not* interested in Maxim DL or The SkyX, mainly due to cost
Am I the only one who sees the irony in those conflicting statements?
I saw that and assumed it is because he's got no money left