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How to Use Deep-Sky Planner 7 Observing Plans with SkySafari

You can use the planning capabilities in Deep-Sky Planner to create observing plans and use them in SkySafari 3 and later 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. Please see documentation for your version and edition of SkySafari.

Detailed Instructions

Exporting Plans to Observing Lists

Observing Plan documents (.dsplan) that are produced by Deep-Sky Planner 7 can be exported for use on SkySafari 3 or later using File | Export | Export Observing Plan. Make sure to select the Export Conversion Type DSP7-SkySafari 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 tap Copy to SkySafari. A message stating that the list has been transferred to Sky Safari is shown.

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.

To transfer to your Mac:
Copy the. skylist file to the folder /<SkySafari edition>/Observing Lists in your SkySafari installation.

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 like SkySafari 5 Plus or SkySafari 5 Pro

Windows explorer
Android phone folders as viewed with Windows Explorer
click for larger image

Why are objects missing?

Once you open the observing list in SkySafari, some objects may be missing. This is because SkySafari doesn't accept objects that it cannot match in its database. For reference, you can view the deep-sky catalogs and star catalogs used in SkySafari. These may vary by version and edition of SkySafari.

As you use SkySafari, you can learn generally which catalogs are present in your version and edition. One case is that double stars are not recognized by WDS designation in SkySafari, but they are in Deep-Sky Planner. New in version, you can change the Object (User) designation in the original Deep-Sky Planner Observing Plan document, and export that to SkySafari.

For example, WDS 23590+5545AB is the designation for the brightest pair in the Sigma Cassiopeia system. If you export this designation, SkySafari does not recognize the object and does not add it to an observing list. If you change the Object (User) designation in Deep-Sky Planner's Observing Plan Editor to WDS 23590+5545 or Sigma Cassiopeia and export the observing plan, SkySafari recognizes the designation and accepts the object.