TheSkyX Serious Astronomer Edition
takes an exceptionally full-featured planetarium and star-charting program and adds a bevy of telescope control and data sorting features to make it the hands-down best value in astronomy software. There are so many features and so much performance built into this very reasonably priced program that it’s hard to know where to start describing them.
Consider the planetarium functions of TheSkyX. You can quickly specify any viewing site (not just your backyard) by selecting it from a list of over 1,200 locations, or by clicking on a World Map, or by manually entering your coordinates (for example, obtained from a road map or GPS). You can input any date (from 4,712 B.C. to 10,000 A.D.) and any time to show you a graphical representation of what the sky looked like (or will look like) from that location at that moment. TheSkyX generates the most realistic and attractive graphical rendition of the night sky ever. With almost photographic realism it shows you the shimmering haze of the Milky Way, with horizon glow behind photographic horizons, and with haloed stars that look so real you’ll think you’re under the stars themselves.
You can choose from several supplied custom panoramic horizons, including: a Cayman Island scene; a desert scene; a forest scene; the view from Grand Mesa, Colorado; a view from Ice Lake, Michigan; a mountain scene; the view from Mt. Wilson Institute Observatory; from New Mexico Skies; from the Software Bisque Observatory; the view from the Very Large Radio Telescope Array; and the view from the Winter Star Party in Florida.
Switch to the chart mode and TheSkyX can show the positions of all of the planets, the Moon, comets, asteroids, satellites, millions and millions of stars and hundreds of thousands of deep-space objects (galaxies, clusters, nebulas, double stars, variable stars, etc.). Here’s a list of the star and object databases included in TheSkyX Serious Astronomer Edition:
- the Hubble Guide Star Catalog (GSC) Version 1.2, with 19,000,000 stars and deep space objects to the 14th magnitude;
- the Hipparcos/Tycho Stellar Catalog, with 1,200,000 stars to the 12th magnitude;
- the Washington Catalog of 99,068 double stars (WDS);
- the Struve catalog of 4,307 double stars;
- the General Catalog of 37,383 variable stars;
- the New General Catalog (NGC) of 7,840 deep space objects;
- the Index Catalog (IC) of 5,382 deep space objects;
- the Tom Lorenzin 2000+ catalog of 2,088 deep space objects;
- the 900,000 galaxy Catalog of Principle Galaxies (PGC);
- the PK Planetary Nebula Catalog (PLN) of 1,455 planetary nebulas;
- the Abell Clusters of Galaxies Catalog of 2,712 galaxy clusters;
- the Arp Catalog of 338 peculiar galaxies; and
- the Galactic Globulars Catalog of 2,495 globular clusters.
There are enough deep space wonders plotted in TheSkyX to keep you busy observing for the rest of your life.
You can filter the chart display by specifying the upper and lower magnitude or angular size; turning on or off elements on the sky chart, including non-stellar objects (Type C, elliptical, lenticular, spiral, irregular galaxies and clusters of galaxies; bright, dark and planetary nebulas; open and globular clusters and clusters plus nebulosity; probable NGC stars, other NGC objects); solar system objects (the Moon, planets, small solar system objects including Pluto, comets and asteroids, the Sun, and planets' moons) and satellites; and stellar objects (stars, double stars, suspected variables and variables).
You can turn on and off the names of objects, including asterisms, asteroids, comets, common non-stellar objects, direction markers (NSEW), Messier objects, meteor shower radiants, planets, dwarf planets, the moon, planets' moons, and the sun, and stars (including the Bayer designation, Flamsteed designation, and common names).
The program’s Data Wizard is a powerful tool for working with the numerous data types present in TheSkyX. With the Data Wizard, you can perform many different tasks such as: Creating custom reports of various celestial object properties. Examples include creating a list of all large and bright galaxies and nebulas currently above the horizon, or showing you all NGC objects in the constellation Orion, sorted by size.
You can also create customized ephemerides of solar system objects such as “show me the rise and set times of all planets for each day of the month," or "what interesting objects are out tonight?"
You can scroll through data lists and display pictures of objects as they are highlighted. For example you could create a list of all galaxies larger than 10 arc minutes in size; sort them by size; then using the Frame Object option, show a picture of each one as the list is scrolled.
Some examples of what the Data Wizard can do include telling you when will Mercury be visible in the pre-dawn hours next month; telling you what interesting objects will be visible with your binoculars tonight; or telling you what long period variable stars are in the constellation Virgo? Simply put, you can get answers to just about any database query-related astronomical question you can come up with.
In addition, TheSkyX is packed with thousands of detailed images. You get over 13,000 images from the NGC and IC Catalogs (shown in-place on the star charts using 1.7 arc second per pixel images from the Digitized Sky Survey). There are almost 200 full color deep-space images from the David Malin collection; over 400 full-color images from the Hubble Space Telescope, and over 150 images of solar system objects, including images from the Mars Rover and other space missions. You get detailed descriptions of the planets, the Sun, Moon, Jupiter and Saturn's major moons, and comets.
You can show what’s in the sky for observing any evening. You can specify the viewing time, your optical aid (naked eye, binocular, or small telescope) and which objects you're interested in seeing. The program’s What Up? command automatically generates an observing list for you, complete with detailed descriptions about many deep-space objects, photographs, and Hertzsprung-Russell (HR) diagrams for stars. You can scroll through the report, and watch the star chart update to show you exactly where to look for the object.
TheSkyX has a powerful Find command so you can locate any object.
You can find stars by their common name; Bayer designation; Flamsteed designation; General Catalog of Variable Star (GCVS) designation; non-stellar variable star (NSV) designation; Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) Catalog number; Struve designation; or Washington Catalog of Double Star designation.
You can find non-stellar objects by their common name; Caldwell number; Herschel number; Index Catalog (IC) number; Lorenzin Catalog number; New General Catalog (NGC) number; Principle Galaxy Catalog number (PGC); Principle Galaxy Catalog cross-reference number; Zwicky number; Arakelian Catalog of Galaxies number; Catalog of Galaxies and Clusters of Galaxies (CGCG) number; David Dunlop Observatory Catalog of Galaxies number; Fairall Catalog of Galaxies number; Karachentseva Catalog of Galaxies number; Kazaryan UV Galaxies number; Kiso UV Galaxies number; Second Byurakay Survey number; Tololo Galaxies number; Uppsala General Catalog of Galaxies (UGC) number; University of Michigan Catalog of Galaxies number; Virgo Cluster Catalog of Galaxies number; Weinberger Catalog of Galaxies number; Planetary Nebula designation (PLN); or Saguaro Astronomy Club Deep-Space Object catalog (SAC) listing.
You can find solar system objects like comets, planets, the Sun and Moon by name.
You can find constellations by their common name.
Click on any object, or use the Find command to show extensive information on celestial objects, including: the common name; catalog number (including cross references to other catalogs), for example M42 or NGC1976; a description of the object; its magnitude; distance information; rise, transit, set times; the constellation to which the object belongs; its equatorial and horizon-based coordinates; other object and catalog specific data, such as spectral data for stars, Dreyer descriptions for deep space objects, and apparent equatorial and polar diameters for planets; its position angle (as measured from the Celestial Pole) from the previously identified object; and its phase (where applicable).
TheSkyX can adjust the area of the sky displayed on your computer screen to virtually any degree of detail you desire. You can see a naked eye view, a telescope view, or one through a finder scope or binocular or more. You can adjust the field size from a sweeping 235° panorama to a tiny 30 arc seconds across. TheSkyX can display reference lines that show coordinates, help you visualize your orientation, or indicate what part of the sky you’re looking. They include: the ecliptic; galactic Equator; Milky Way (picture) or Milky Way (solid); constellation lines, boundaries, or drawings of the mythological characters in the sky that the constellations were named for; equatorial grid lines with customizable spacing; horiizon-based grid lines; a customizable local horizon, a refracted horizon; or a customizable panoramic horizon. You can show stars with their spectral color, change the contrast, gradient fill, density, halos on bright stars, red color in Night Vision Mode and more!
You can Display and Import Extended Minor Planets (asteroids), showing all the known minor planets simultaneously (with the number limited only by the amount of memory in your computer). And you can display up to 10,000 Earth satellites at a time. TheSkyX can automatically download selected ephemeral data for displaying these objects from the web.
TheSkyX has a supremely flexible Field of View Indicator interface. Simply select your telescope, eyepieces, and CCD hardware from the program’s database of equipment. TheSkyX will automatically generate a list of all possible fields of view for all your equipment. User-defined elements let you simulate virtually any telescope/camera/optical configuration if you’re using equipment too new to be in the extensive component list. Click on which field (or fields) you want to see. Field of view outlines will appear on your computer screen, showing you exactly how much of the sky you will be able to encompass with a particular eyepiece or camera. You can move the outline or outlines to any position on the screen. You can “pin” them to a fixed right ascension/declination. The outlines for dual-chip self-guiding SBIG CCD cameras include a separate outline for the guiding chip so you can be sure there’s a suitably-bright guide star within the guiding chip field before you start to take an exposure. You can individually rotate the CCD outlines to any orientation before an imaging session to be sure that the camera will be oriented correctly to take in all of the object to be imaged. The outlines can be used as telescope cross hairs. You can create a simulated telescope view (called a Telescope Mask).
The handy Move To command lets you center the display on any equatorial or horizon-based coordinate, from any Epoch. The Eclipse Finder allows you to search for and animate solar and lunar eclipses, and view their geometry. TheSkyX even displays a solar eclipse's path of totality on a map of the Earth.
The program shows the positions of Jupiter's Galilean major moons and Saturn's major moons at any given time, allowing you to set the moons into motion. It lets you locate conjunctions between any three planets, or the Moon. TheSkyX shows you detailed, medium-resolution photographs of the Moon's surface. The Moon Viewer can label common features, landing sites, and shows historical references about feature names.
You can view the planets, comets, and minor planets from anywhere in the solar system. Watch comets race around the sun. Plot comet and minor planet's paths through the solar system. Lock On and/or View From any object during a time skip animation in the 3D solar system mode.
You can simulate the daytime sky to view sunrises, sunsets, or solar eclipses, in real time or accelerated time. You can watch the motion of the stars over hundreds, or thousands of years. Proper motion "vectors" show the path that the stars will follow over time.
And star hopping was never easier! You can print a hard copy of any portion of the night sky, and use it in the field to help identify objects with your telescope, binoculars, or unaided eye.
An installed Astronomy Tutorial will bring depth and breadth to your astronomy experience, helping you explore and actively develop your understanding of astronomical science.
A very full instruction manual is included on the program’s CD-ROM in a PDF format that you can print out or refer to on-line.
TheSkyX Serious Astronomer Edition includes Native Telescope Control, a program that can control the motion of virtually every available go-to and encoder-based telescope system. Moving a go-to telescope to an object in the sky with Native Telescope Control is virtually as simple as pointing to the object on your laptop’s star chart display and clicking on the object. And you can set up telescope limit lines, including declination and altitude limit lines, so that your telescope never points at objects concealed by buildings or trees.
TheSkyX Serious Astronomer Edition easily integrates with Software Bisque’s T-Point for Windows, a program that improves the pointing accuracy of your go-to telescope to virtually professional observatory standards.
TheSkyX Serious Astronomer Edition places most of the known universe at your fingertips with breathtaking graphical beauty, gigabytes of data that plot nearly instantaneously, and a depth of features to fulfill a professional’s wish list and still perform so easily that even the newest astronomers find navigating a telescope around the night sky to be as simple as point and click. There is no more sophisticated, faster, elegant, or easy-to-use planetarium and telescope control program than TheSkyX Serious Astronomer Edition.
Computer system requirements . . . 1.5 GHz or faster processor (Intel Pentium 4, Pentium M, Pentium D processor or better, or AMD K-8 (Athlon) or better); 512 MB internal RAM; OpenGL 1.5 and later; a 1024 x 768 display resolution monitor with true color and 128 MB (minimum) video RAM; 1.25 GB free disc space; a DVD-ROM drive; keyboard; and a mouse or other pointing device.
Required operating systems include Windows 7 (including Ultimate, Enterprise, Professional, Home Premium, Home Basic, or Starter); or Windows Vista (including Ultimate, Home Premium, Home Basic, Business, or Enterprise). or Windows XP (including Professional, XP Home Edition, XP Tablet PC Edition, or Media Center Edition). TheSkyX Serious Astronomer Edition for Windows is a 32-bit application, and is compatible with either the 32-bit or 64-bit versions of these operating systems.