Deep-Sky Planner Features
Deep-Sky Planner is comprehensive astronomical planning and logging software for visual observers and astro-imagers. Deep-Sky Planner was published initially in 1994; the current version (7) was released in April 2016.
Deep-Sky Planner can meet the needs of any astronomer from beginner to professional. It helps users whether they are imaging or observing visually with telescopes or binoculars.
The video below demonstrates some of the newest features in Deep-Sky Planner 7. Click on the video to view it, or visit the Video Library for more videos.
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- Expanded and updated database contains over 1.55 million objects and uses the latest professional, peer-reviewed data available. Many catalogs have been updated. Please see catalogs for more details.
- Object designation matching engine can find matches for designations that you enter using sophisticated pattern matching technology. The engine is forgiving of case mismatches, extra or no spaces in designations, and can match some commonly used catalog mneumonics that are not IAU approved (e.g., B for Barnard Dark nebulae).
- Observing Plans
- any type of object can be placed in an observing plan
- look up objects in Deep-Sky Planner database or SIMBAD astronomical database
- drag and drop objects from any Deep-Sky Planner report into a plan, or add your own objects
- browse, view and download any of hundreds of plans stored in the Plan Library (in the Deep-Sky Planner online Community )
- run a plan for any date and time, or continuously in real-time while at the telescope
- display essential object information, DSS images and other graphical data for objects
- use telescope control, Push-To (using Argo Navis or Sky Commander) and Smart Chart Interoperation™ with a plan
- use Smart DSS Download™ to download and store an image for each object in the plan
- import plans in delimited text (CSV) format produced by other software
- export and upload plans to Argo Navis, Sky Commander, ACP Observatory Control software, Sequence Generator Pro, Astro Photography Tool (APT) and SkySafari for iPhone/iPad/iPod, Android & MacOs
- Deep-Sky, Star and other documents
- all Deep-Sky Planner version 6 documents are compatible with Deep-Sky Planner 7
- display essential object information from the latest professional data, DSS images and other graphical data for objects
- includes emission line data for planetary nebulae which is useful for selecting the best optical or narrowband filter
- use telescope control, Push-To and Smart Chart Interoperation™ with deep-sky, star and other documents
- use Smart DSS Download™ to download and store an image for each object in documents
- Flexible reporting
- customize content, layout and appearance, or use preset layouts
- extensive import/export capability - formatted text, HTML and delimited text (CSV)
- Comprehensive, integrated logging feature Learn more...
- observations and equipment information can be moved effortlessly from Deep-Sky Planner 6 to Deep-Sky Planner 7 using the Backup and Restore functions
- complete storage and reporting of sky and weather conditions
- mini-browsers allow you to visit online resources (such as weather or sky conditions web sites) conveniently while logging observations
- support for reading darkness data from Unihedron's Sky Quality Meter
- support for reading weather conditions from ASCOM supported weather stations
- view imaging exposure data stored in JPEG or FITS files
- playback video and audio clips attached to an observation
- non-proprietary observation import and export capability using OpenAstronomyLog 2.1
- completely customize your observation reporting by using selectable stylesheet technology (XSLT)
- Customizable backup and restore of data and user options - handy for sychronizing multiple installations of Deep-Sky Planner
- Equipment/Conditions Bar allows you to see important optical system metrics, weather conditions and sky conditions at a glance - continuously reads a connected Sky Quality Meter and an ASCOM supported weather station.
- New Visibility Models may be applied to extended deep-sky objects, double stars, variable stars, individual stars, asteroids and planets. The models provide assessments of whether an object is visible (or may be split in the case of double stars) given the observer, equipment and sky conditions.
- Telescope control and real-time feedback from telescope/digital setting circles using ASCOM. Learn more...
- Smart Chart Interoperation™ with leading planetarium software products TheSkyX, TheSky6, Starry Night, Redshift and Cartes du Ciel
- Designed for and tested with Windows 10, 8 and 7
Why Deep-Sky Planner is different ...
Astronomy software doesn't have to be hard to use!
- Deep-Sky Planner packages it's power behind familiar Windows presentation techniques - plan reports, catalog search reports, ephemeris reports and logged observation reports are all treated like documents that can be saved, re-opened, printed or exported. Observations and observing locations may be managed like Windows Explorer manages files.
The product includes thorough user documentation that is both fully searchable and printable, and an online support and resources community that is free. There is also a discussion group where registered users can ask questions.
- The observing log is specifically designed for convenient workflow at the telescope or anytime thereafter - the software learns which observing session and equipment you are using as you enter observations so that your workflow is optimized.
Keeping a log of your observations requires a big investment in your time, but the benefits of being able to search and report them any time is at least as great. If you are concerned about investing a lot of time building an electronic observing log that is locked away in a proprietary database, have no fear! Observations in Deep-Sky Planner can be imported and exported in both a proprietary file format and the non-proprietary OpenAstronomyLog 2.1 format. Reports can be printed or saved in HTML format for publishing on a web site.
- Deep-Sky Planner focuses on planning and logging features, giving them primary development and support attention. Deep-Sky Planner can interoperate intelligently with several leading planetarium programs giving you extensive planning capability and the very best star charting and planetarium functions working together without duplicating the cost of these features.
Deep-Sky Planner has been designed from the beginning (1991) using object-oriented techniques, and takes extensive advantage of object-oriented design patterns and programming. Agile development methodology (modified scrum) has been employed throughout the development of version 7. Requirements analysis, UML modeling and automated testing round out the engineering effort. Automated bug tracking and source code control help to manage the result.
The application has been developed over a period of 25 years and contains well over 100,000 lines of C++ source code. Python scripts and the DUnitX framework support development and testing.
Most development occurs on a 3.3 GHz i5 machine running Windows 10 Professional (64-bit). In-house testing occurs on this machine, various computers running Windows 7 and 8 (a mix of 32 & 64 bit editions). The test team uses a variety of desktop, laptop and tablet computers.
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