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Plan Topics

• Viewing plans

• Editing

• Telescope Control

• Smart Chart Interoperation

• Exporting plans

• Plan Converter

Observing Plans

The Observing Plan document allows you to create or share observing lists with other imagers or observers. Observing plans may be shared among licensed users of Deep-Sky Planner through the Plan Library in the Deep-Sky Planner Community.

You can add object data manually from any source with the Observing Plan Object Editor, or you can drag and drop objects from other Deep-Sky Planner reports into the observing plan. The drag and drop feature allows you to leverage the extensive database reporting features found in the deep-sky, star, planet, asteroid and comet reports, and quickly build an observing plan.

You can learn how to create an observing plan and run it in real time in the Deep-Sky Planner Video Library.

An observing plan report includes essential information for each object. Information is calculated for a selected date and time, or continuously in real-time. Some of the information in a plan includes:

  • Apparent coordinates for all object types
  • Constellation and star atlas cross references
  • Magnitude, size, surface brightness and brightest emission line of extended objects (as applicable)
  • Inclination and position angles of galaxies where available
  • Spectral type of stars
  • Next date & time of minimum or maximum light for eclipsing and pulsating variables
  • High precision ephemerides (PA & separation) for well-studied visual binary systems
  • The most recent measurement data (year, PA & separation) for double stars
  • Rise, set transit and best time to observe (in respect to the moon) for the selected date
  • Altitude, azimuth and air mass


observing plan report
Observing Plan Report
Manage your view of the observing plan report with layout presets, or customize the layout to your requirements. There are presets designed for large screens (XGA or larger) and small ones (e.g., tablet). There are also presets for deep-sky objects, doubles, variables and solar system objects.
Observing Plan Presets
Detailed graphical information is available for each object, including DSS images, altitude graphs and observations.
Observing Plan Details

Slew your telescope to an object in the observing plan (requires a GoTo mount and ASCOM)

Push-to an object in the observing plan (requires Argo Navis, Nexus DSC or Sky Commander)

Telescope Control

Show a star chart of an object in the observing plan by centering your planetarium software on the object's coordinates (supports TheSkyX/6, Starry Night, Redshift, Cartes du Ciel 2.76 or later)

Knightware thanks Maris Technologies, Patrick Chevalley, Simulation Curriculum Corp, and Software Bisque for their assistance while developing support for their products.

show chart
Smart Chart Interoperation™

Sharing Observing Plans

Once you have your observing plan built, share it online as an HTML report. You can also view HTML reports with smartphones or tablet computers. You can even view an observing plan report on a Kindle by printing your reports as PDF files using an external program such as PDFCreator and uploading the PDF to the Kindle.

You can export your observing plan and upload it to Argo Navis, Nexus DSC and Sky Commander digital setting circles. You can also export your observing plans to SkySafari software Pro and Plus editions on Android, iOS and Mac OS.

Imagers can export observing plans to ACP Observatory Control Software, Sequence Generator Pro or Astro Photography Tool (APT). This allows you to use the sorting and filtering capabilities in Deep-Sky Planner to create optimal target lists for these image sequencing products.

Examples: Dunlop 150 for SkySafari and Argo Navis.

Click to get a zipped copy of the Dunlop150 observing plan formatted for Sky Safari (1KB). Save the file to your hard drive and unzip Dunlop150.skylist. Load this file onto the mobile device containing SkySafari. Note: Sky Safari may not recognize & import 2 objects in the list: Bernes 157 and the Norma Star Cloud.

Click to get a zipped copy of the Dunlop 150 observing plan formatted for Argo Navis (4KB). Save the file to your hard drive and unzip Dunlop150.argo.txt. Load this file into your Argo Navis using either Deep-Sky Planner or Argonaut (available from Wildcard Innovations).

Knightware thanks DC3 Dreams, Main Sequence Software, Incanus Ltd, Sky Engineering, Southern Stars, Wildcard Innovations and Astro Devices for their kind assistance while developing support for their products.

export acp
Export to ACP

export sgp
Export to SGP

observing plan report
Export to HTML

Observing Plan Editor

The Observing Plan Object Editor gives users the ability to enter essential data for any object. The object data can be looked up in the Deep-Sky Planner database, online at SIMBAD astronomical database or NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED), or it can be entered manually from any source.


Enter essential data for an object or look it up among over 1.55 million objects present in the Deep-Sky Planner database. A designation lookup engine helps to find objects by common names and designations. You can also lookup objects online in the SIMBAD astronomical database and NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED).

general tab
Observing Plan Editor - General Tab
Enter Common Names for the selected object - other names by which you recognize the object. Common names are set by the Lookup feature on the General tab.
names tab
Names Tab

Choose a Digitized Sky Survey (DSS) image to be shown with the object on the plan. You can select a server, survey (red, blue or infrared) and size for the image. You can also save the image locally to the hard drive for offline access. You can even save an inverted image (black on white) locally.

You can also automatically assign DSS images for every object in an observing plan and use the DSS tab of the Plan Editor to override the automatic assignments.

DSS tab
DSS images can be downloaded automatically for all objects in an observing plan using the Smart DSS Download™ feature.

DSS downloading
Smart DSS Download™