SkyTools 3 has been over five years
in the making. An unprecedented number of exciting new
features have been added! In addition, every dialog and
every function has been smoothed over; made ever more capable,
intuitive and efficient.
SkyTools 3 comes in two
editions: Standard and Pro. The Pro edition includes
additional features such as planning tools for imaging sessions
and a larger database. The Real Time tool (telescope
control) is included with the Pro package. Jump to
the Pro Edition features.
New Features of SkyTools 3
Visual Detection Model -- SkyTools 3
draws on scientific models of sky brightness,
atmospheric conditions, and detection contrast to
predict how difficult an object is to detect visually.
Objects are categorized from obvious to very
challenging based on your telescope and observing
Star Pair Split Model -- we studied the major
scientific models that predict which pairs can be
split visually, combining and extending them to
develop our own comprehensive model. The
atmosphere, optics, separation and magnitude
difference of the pair is considered. Double
star pairs are categorized in terms of splittability
for a given instrument, location, and observing
conditions. Categories range from obvious
split to very challenging split.
Realistic Sky Simulation -- it's not only pretty,
including beautiful vistas of the Milky Way, but its
also an accurate depiction of which objects you can
see. Our new sky brightness, atmospheric, and
visual detection models do an astounding job of
selecting the objects you will see in the eyepiece and
matching the sky background and stars. The
result is a tool that excels at helping you find
challenging objects, whether it be via our unique star
hopping charts or a simulated eyepiece view on your
laptop at the telescope.
Viewer -- an innovative side window for the Atlas
that displays an accurate eyepiece simulation.
Drag the eyepiece FOV anywhere on the chart to see the
simulation at that spot, and if a telescope is
connected via our Real Time add-on the telescope will
Observing List Generator -- auto-generate
observing lists for a specific night, location and
instrument. Generate lists of showpieces,
interesting deep sky objects, interesting solar system
objects, well placed NGC/IC, lesser-known objects,
interesting red or variable stars, or appealing
Synopses -- auto-generated for any object.
Example: "On this night 6P/d'Arrest is best
visible between 20:32 and 22:34, with the optimum view
at 22:33. Look for it in Grus, fairly high in the
southern sky in complete darkness. ... Use the Ultima
35mm eyepiece for optimum visual detection. It is
magnitude 10.5 with a diameter of 5.7'. In the
following 30 days this object is detectable visually
on October 19-26, with the best view coming on October
19. During this period it will fade rapidly and will
reach minimum altitude of 13° on November 6.
6P/d'Arrest will next reach perihelion in late
February 2015. It is also predicted to reach maximum
brightness of magnitude 10.5 in late February."
Simulated Planets and the current SOHO Sun image
-- see today's sunspots. Watch the shadow of the
earth cross the moon.
Object Requestor -- now tabbed into three separate
functions: the quick search, a powerful database
browser, and coordinate entry. New powerful
fuzzy string searching. Simple manual
coordinates entry; coordinates can also be pasted into
the dialog in a wide variety of formats.
Premiere Double Star Database -- the
largest vetted double star database, including the
most highly corrected and cross referenced version of the Washington Double Star
Catalog. We spent six months
finding lost or misplaced pairs, cross referencing
component stars to the UCAC and USNO-B1 catalogs, as
well as fixing numerous errors. The resulting
database boasts over 72,000 double star systems,
each with as many as 21 individual component stars.
Accurate Stellar Database -- no more GSC data.
Our one-of-a-kind integrated database draws star data
drawn from the best of the HIPPARCOS, Tycho 2, UCAC, USNO-B1, WDS, CCDM
and GCVS catalogs. In
addition all the usual cross
references are there from catalogs like the HD, SAO,
and PPM. For the first time variable stars
change brightness on the charts with time!
Accurate Galaxy Database --
improved positions and orientations for over a million
more accurate Nebula Database -- categorized by
type, such as HII region, supernova remnant, or
Sync between different computers -- copy your
settings and data back and forth from one computer to
another, folding the new information in, avoiding
double entries and not overwriting existing data.
Control over designations -- control the
designation hierarchy for each class of objects.
If you don't like common names like Coddington's
Nebula then you can turn them off completely. Make
Messier or NGC supreme, or if you prefer your
planetary nebulae to be identified first and foremost
by their "PN G" identifier then so be it.
Data -- observing lists, object notes, ratings,
links, and images are categorized for better control
over your data. Flexible new tools are provided
Log Export Options -- control what data is
exported (or printed) as well as the format.
Logs can be exported to a file in delimited form.
pair data in the observing list
Great Red Spot Events
Telescopes via the Real Time add-on -- support
has been added for the ServoCat, Tangent-based DSCs
and the Argo Navis in its native mode. Most of
the latest features of ASCOM 2008 are also supported.
ratings, priority, and status indicators on your
integrated Supplemental Database Editor -- creating
your own objects is simple and convenient.
DSS image downloads
Download of Minor Planet Data -- filter downloads
by minor planet orbit type.
ways to create obstructed horizons for your locations
Database Power Search Tool
an Observing List from any text file
alignment tools for Real Time
improved voices for notifications from the Real Time
Designation Search Tool
New SkyTools 3 Pro Edition Features
The Pro Edition is
for the astronomical imager or any serious observer who wants
the very best in observing software. This edition has a
much larger stellar database, with stars down to 20th magnitude.
The image below shows how dramatic the improvement is.
Pass your cursor
over the image to see the Pro Edition advantage.
notice that the open cluster position and diameter is greatly
improved as well. Every SkyTools database has been
improved with more data and extensive correction, often by hand.
first of its kind Imaging Session Planner --
supports deep sky, planetary, lunar and solar imaging
for astronomical CCDs, digital cameras, and video/web
cams. Know with certainty when each object is best
imaged. When should I start tonight? When
should I stop? Which of my target objects should
I go after and whish should I save for another night?
Calculator -- use this tool to make critical
calculations and to explore the possibilities.
What is the optimum sub-exposure for my current
conditions? What is the estimated Signal to
Noise Ratio I will obtain for a given exposure?
What is the estimated total exposure time needed to
reach a specific Signal to Noise Ratio? In
what order should I expose when using multiple
filters? How much effect is the moon going to
have tonight? Should I travel to a dark site?
How long can I image a planet before rotational smear
blurs the composite image? What is my field of
view? How many pixels will a planet cover?
What is the optimum separation to use for eyepiece
Context Viewer -- an
innovative side window for the Atlas that displays a
simulated image taken with your camera and telescope.
This tool is perfect for locating the correct field;
readily compare a short exposure to the simulated
image. Drag the imaging FOV anywhere on the
chart to test placement, and if a telescope is
connected the telescope will follow!
Stellar Database -- 522
million stars to
20th magnitude over the entire sky. The highest
quality data available is used, including UCAC and
selected stars from USNO-B1.0 catalog.
Location Tool -- input your observing location
directly from any GPS receiver with a standard NMEA
Image Download Selections -- SDSS, IR, H-alpha,
and 2MASS images available for download.
Planets and Comets database search -- powerful
filtered minor planet and comet database searches.
Filter by minor planet type: find scattered disk or
NEO objects that are observable. Discover what
comet that was that Grandma saw in 1928.
Powerful Database Search
Time Tool included!