CHAPTER 14: High-Tech Astronomy


Links For CHapter 14

What’s New?

Chapter Links

Recommended Reading

Special Notes About the Links

• For manufacturers, we have listed only website addresses. Other contact information can be obtained at the website. We have listed only companies that advertise into the North American market, providing their U.S. website.

• Within each product category, companies are listed in alphabetical order.

• The only dealers and stores we have listed are those who have exclusive North American license to certain brands of telescopes. To locate local dealers, try the major manufacturers for links on their websites to their network of dealers.

• In all cases, these listings are provided for the convenience of readers of The Backyard Astronomer’s Guide and do not necessarily imply an endorsement by the authors of the companies or their products.


Astronomical Software — Planetarium 

These suppliers make “planetarium” sky simulation software for desktop computers, what most backyard astronomers will find most useful. Many of these programs can control GoTo telescopes, though that feature may be found only on the advanced-level “pro” versions of some programs. As explained in Chapter 14, adding a suitable serial cable and USB-to-Serial adapter will also be necessary for telescope control.

For an extensive listing of astronomy software of all types, see Astronomy Software. 

Carina Software
Voyager and SkyGazer software for Mac and Windows

Free space simulation software for Windows, UNIX and Mac OSX. 

Equinox / Microprojects
Equinox planetarium and telescope control software for MacOS

Redshift software for Windows (source supplier changes hands every couple of years)

Stargazer’s Delight, Ruedi Schmid’s free planetarium software for Macintosh

Starry Night / Imaginova
Starry Night planetarium software for Mac and Windows

The SkyX / Software Bisque
The SkyX planetarium and Seeker solar system simulation software for Mac and Windows

Worldwide Telescope
Microsoft’s Windows program (free) for simulating the sky and calling up images of objects and multi-wavelength views of the Milky Way.

Astronomical Software — Deep-Sky Charting

These suppliers make specialized software for deep-sky charting, useful for ardent deep-sky observers. These programs present sky charts loaded with deep-sky objects but make no attempt to simulate the appearance of the sky with realistic graphics. Many of these programs can also control a GoTo telescope.

Cartes du Ciel
Patrick Chevalley’s free and excellent planetarium software for Windows

Megastar / Willmann-Bell
Superb MegaStar charting software for Windows

Nova Astronomics
Excellent and low-cost Earth Centered Universe software for Windows

Project Pluto
Feature-packed Guide charting software for Windows

SkyMap Software
Chris Marriott’s SkyMap Pro software for Windows; not updated since 2006


Astronomical Software — Deep-Sky Planning

These suppliers make specialized software for deep-sky planning, based around extensive filterable databases of deep-sky catalogs. Many of these programs can also control a GoTo telescope.

Paul Rodman’s observation planning and telescope control, for MacOS and Windows; basic version available for free download

SkyTools deep-sky planning software for Windows

Deep Sky Astronomy Software
Steve Tuma’s Deep Sky planning software for Windows, integrates with Cartes du Ciel for creating charts. Not to be confused with …

Deep Sky Planner / Knightware
Deep Sky Planner observation planning and logging program for Windows

Scope Driver planning software for Mac and Windows that connects to GoTo scopes

Where is M13?
This neat little program illustrates where in the Milky Way various deep-sky objects are, for Windows, MacOS and Linux


Lunar Mapping Programs

Lunar Calc
Alister Ling’s lunar mapping software for Windows

Lunar Phase Pro
Lunar Phase Pro software for Windows; trial copy available; not to be confused with Lunar Map Pro from RITI

Reading Information Technology Inc. (RITI)
Lunar Map Pro software for Windows

Virtual Moon Atlas
Superb free moon charting software from France, for Windows


Astronomical Software — Handhelds and Smartphones 

These suppliers make software for handheld PDAs and smartphones. For iPhone users, check the App Store for astronomy applications (look under Education, Navigation, Weather)

Superb Astromist software for PalmOS and Windows Mobile devices, from Cyrille Thieullet in France

Planetarium / AHo Software
Planetarium astronomy software for PalmOS handhelds

Pocket Stars
Pocket Stars program for Windows Mobile handhelds and smartphones

Software Bisque
Pocket Sky for Windows Mobile handhelds


Connectivity Solutions

These sources supply devices and cables for connecting a computer, handheld or smartphone to a telescope, through wired or wireless connections.

Cables and Bluetooth receivers for wired and wireless computer and handheld connections to telescopes

BlueStar / Orion Telescopes
Orion’s BlueStar Bluetooth receiver for GoTo Scopes; search at the Orion site for Bluestar

Serial IO
Supplier of cables for connecting handheld devices to serial ports, those used by telescopes.

Offers add-on receiver for adding GPS-location capability for several brands of GoTo scopes


Robotic Telescopes

These are some of the sites that provide robotic telescopes for rent.

Global Rent-a-Scope
Renting high-end imaging scopes for advanced astrophotography

New Mexico Skies / iBisque
Offers high-end scopes for robotic control for advanced users
Offers users opportunities to take images with telescopes at remote sites, at low cost, or to join guided tours of the sky