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SkyTools 3 Imaging Features

The SkyTools 3 Professional Edition supports imaging.  Plan imaging sessions and optimize imaging in real time.  The focus of SkyTools imaging session planning is on helping you make the best imaging choices.  Optimum sub-exposure times are computed for image stacking, the final signal-to-noise ratio is estimated, the number of stacked images required to obtain the desired signal-to-noise is computed, and the optimum time period to observe your object is displayed. 

The imaging quality for a selected object is drawn as a function of time below (blue line). The relative quality depends on both the conditions and the object. Readily compare different objects, filters, sub-exposure times, nights, cameras, telescopes, locations, etc.

The blue line is the imaging quality throughout the night.

When it comes time to observe, the Real Time tool has an imaging mode which can help you make informed choices as you work.  The Imaging Context Viewer helps to identify fields and aid in image placement.  It can also be used to point a connected telescope simply by dragging the camera rectangle to a new position.

  • Innovative first of its kind Imaging Session Planner -- supports deep sky, planetary, lunar and solar imaging for astronomical CCDs, digital cameras, and video/web cams. Know with certainty when each object is best imaged.  When should I start tonight?  When should I stop?  Which of my target objects should I go after?  

  • Exposure Calculator -- use this tool to make critical calculations and to explore the possibilities.  

    • What is the optimum sub-exposure for my current conditions?  

    • What is the estimated Signal to Noise Ratio I will obtain for a given exposure?  

    • What is the estimated total exposure time needed to reach a specific Signal to Noise Ratio?  

    • In what order should I expose when using multiple filters?  

    • How much effect is the moon going to have tonight?  

    • Should I travel to a dark site?  

    • How long can I image a planet before rotational smear blurs the composite image? 

    • What is my field of view? 

    • How many pixels will a planet cover?  

    • What is the optimum separation to use for eyepiece projection?

  • Imaging Context Viewer -- an innovative side window for the Atlas that displays a simulated image for your camera and telescope.  This tool is perfect for locating the correct field; readily compare a short exposure to the simulated image.  Drag the imaging FOV anywhere on the chart to test placement, and if a telescope is connected the telescope will follow!

  • Deepest Stellar Database -- stars to 20th magnitude over the entire sky.

  • Accurate positions for all known asteroids -- these can be downloaded from within SkyTools to aid in identification of moving objects.

  • Automatic Tracking of Asteroids and Comets -- follow a comet or asteroid during your exposures (with mounts capable of this function).

  • Maximum Planetary imaging time without blurring-- computes the maximum time over which the Sun or a planet can be imaged to avoid blurring due to the rotation of the object in the final stacked image.

  • Image Download Selections -- DSS, SDSS, IR, H-alpha, and 2MASS images are available for download and display in the chart backgrounds.  These images can be used in the Atlas or in the Context Viewer to aid in camera placement.

  • Eyepiece Projection Calculator -- computes the optimum separation between the eyepiece and camera and computes the final image scale for any given separation.

  • Double Star Pair Resolution and Image Scale

  • Drift Alignment Tool -- takes the guesswork out of aligning your mount.

Imaging Session Planner


Exposure Calculator


Context Viewer