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How to Use Deep-Sky Planner 6 Observing Plans with SkySafari

You can use the planning capabilities in Deep-Sky Planner to create observing plans and use them in SkySafari 3 & 4 on iOS, Mac OSX and Android. Together, these products produce a nice solution for mobile astronomy. The procedure is simply this:

  1. Use Deep-Sky Planner to create plan documents (file extension is .dsplan).
  2. Export the plan documents into SkySafari observing list format. See details
  3. Transfer observing list(s) to a device that runs SkySafari. See details.
  4. Use the observing list in SkySafari. See details.

Detailed Instructions

Exporting Plans to Observing Lists

Plan documents (.dsplan) that are produced by Deep-Sky Planner 6 can be exported for use on SkySafari 3 or 4 using File | Export Plan. Make sure to select the Export Conversion Type DSP6.0-SkySafari 3 in order to produce a file recognizeable by SkySafari.

Transferring Observing Lists to a Device Running SkySafari

Once you have converted a .dsplan file to a SkySafari observing list (.skylist), you need to transfer it to your mobile device or Mac.

To transfer to your iPhone, iPod or iPad, e-mail the file to your device as an attachment. Open the e-mail on your device, touch the attachment (the file with .skylist extension) and hold until you see Open in SkySafari. Tap and the list will be imported into SkySafari 3 or 4.

To transfer to your Mac, copy the. skylist file to the folder /<SkySafari edition>/Observing Lists in your SkySafari 3 or 4 installation.

To transfer to your Android device, attach a USB cable to your computer and the Android device. Your Android device should appear as one or more disks in Windows Explorer on your computer.

If your Android device does not appear in Windows Explorer, you need to download and install the proper USB driver for your Android device and your Windows operating system (see

Using Windows Explorer, copy the observing list file (.skylist extension) from your Windows PC to the Android folder /<SkySafari edition>/Observing Lists on your device. <SkySafari edition> should be one of SkySafari 3 Plus, SkySafari 3 Pro, SkySafari 4 Plus or SkySafari 4 Pro

Windows explorer
Android phone folders as viewed with Windows Explorer
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How to Access a Plan in SkySafari (Android Phone Example)

After you have transferred an observing list into SkySafari, you access it using the following steps. You can see an abridged view of the original Deep-Sky Planner plan file here.

1. Touch the Search button at the bottom of the SkySafari screen. This displays all of the observing lists that ship with SkySafari, followed by any observing lists that you have added. For this example, we have added a list called 'RASC deep-sky challenge'.

Observing Lists in the Search screen
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2. Touch the observing list that you want to open. The screenshot below shows the observing list 'RASC deep-sky challenge'. Note that some objects that are present in the Deep-Sky Planner plan file do not appear in the observing list view. They are present in the observing list file but SkySafari could not find these objects in its database so they are not shown.

observing list
Observing List view
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3. Touch an object in the observing list to see its object dialog box.

object dialog
Object dialog box for Maffei 1
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4. Touch Show Info. More detailed object data is displayed. Note that the object data used in SkySafari are taken from its database. Object data from the Deep-Sky Planner database are NOT used. There may be some discrepancies between the two databases.

object info
Object Info view for Maffei 1
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5. Touch Center to display a planetarium view of the sky with Maffei 1 in the center.

Maffei 1 centered in Planetarium view
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6. You can continue using other functions in SkySafari on objects in the observing list, like logging an observation or slewing your telescope to the object. Please see your SkySafari documentation for further information.

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