Re: Astronomy Software
Well, just purchased Skytools3, and it's on its way. I had been thinking of buying for a long time, deferring numerous times for other astro purchases. It has probably given me a couple more months with an inferior Astro Chair, LOL.toggle quoted messageShow quoted text
I really appreciated your quick astro software tour, Kevin. It cinched the deal for me. Since the last meeting I've read a lot of stuff on the Skytools website and downloaded the manual. It is definitely what I'm looking for...
1) First and foremost, a planner. Unfortunately, my trips to dark sites are too few and far between. I want to use my time as efficient as possible. SkyTools will give me a list of objects and the best times to view. So, if I happen to get into a heated side discussion about the best double in Orion (it happens), when I'm done I can go right to the objects I wanted to see that are best placed for viewing. I'm guessing it will make backyard sessions more productive and also make working for the different AL pins a snap.
2) Charting. I use Pocket Sky Atlas at the eyepiece, but for some toughies you can't beat a 1-4 deg FOV chart with stars down to mag 12 or 13. I have used Cartes du Ciel for this with great success, but it does have it's limitations (although you can't beat the price :). I wanted a flexible charting tool that could help me make these charts and print them for use at the scope.
3) Logging: This is my weakest area, I'm hoping ST3 will motivate me to get better.
On top of that, ST3 looks like it will keep me posted about the types of events that I enjoy viewing, like planetary conjunctions, asteroid & lunar occultations, comets, Jupiter moon events, etc.
These are the main reasons I bought it. Maybe in a couple months I'll share how well it met/surpassed my expectations.
If you don't have the money for an expensive s/w tool, I'll second Ted's comments on the free software. Stellarium and Cartes du Ciel have served me well. I'd also recommend the Virtual Lunar Atlas if you're into observing Luna (I am!). There's a bit of a learning curve w/ CdC, but I became an expert on a recent rainy Saturday, so it can't be that hard.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Ted Forte" <twforte@...> wrote: