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Observing in Real Time with SkyTools 3

The Real Time tool is designed specifically for use at the telescope.  In real time mode SkyTools continually updates to the current time by reading the computer's clock, providing up-to-the-minute observing advice.  An interface is also provided for controlling a variety of telescopes. 

The Real Time tool is included with the Professional Edition.  For the Standard Edition it is a separately purchased add-on. It is not available for the Starter Edition.

Support is provided for most GOTO telescopes via the ASCOM platform. Telescopes equipped with simple Digital Setting Circles (or Pushto systems--because the observer typically pushes the telescope to the target) are also supported via ASCOM.  Pushto telescopes equipped with the popular Argo Navis or Sky Commander units are supported directly from within SkyTools.  Additional specialized features, such as observing list uploads, are supported for these units.

The telescope can be targeted at any object in your observing list, any object you can point at on a chart, or for that matter any object in the database.  Keyboard shortcuts are provided for all basic functions, both on the planner and the charts.

Your choice of natural sounding voice keeps you informed of what your telescope is doing, indicating events such as, "telescope slew complete."  listen

The current location of the telescope is indicated on all charts via a moving indicator.  The telescope can be controlled directly from any chart.  Use the Context Viewer to drag your telescope from galaxy to galaxy or to place your camera.  For Pushto systems, zero the Pushto Indicators or use the charts to guide the telescope to your target.  

Itís not just about Controlling Telescopes

The Real Time tool is designed for any observing at the telescope.  The objects best viewed at that moment are displayed at the top of the list and prioritized by whether or not they are rising or setting, how far they are away from the current telescope position, by their status (observed or not yet observed) and the priority you have given them.  

The date and time used for all functions are obtained directly from your computer clock.  When you open a chart, start a log entry, or view object information, the time is always assumed to be current.

Even if you have no way to connect your telescope to a computer this tool can be quite useful.

Supported Telescope Mounts

A wide variety of mounts are supported for use with SkyTools via the popular 3rd party ASCOM standard, including most every Celestron and Meade model (they use a standard interface).  

List of Telescopes currently supported by ASCOM

SkyTools directly supports the Argo Navis and Sky Commander.  The ServoCAT is also supported.

ASCOM now supports Tangent-based DSCs such as the Celestron Advanced Astromaster, David Chandler Co. Deep Space Navigator, Discovery Digital Setting Circles, Grecner Navigator, JMI NGCMAX, Lumicon Sky Vector, Mountain Instruments Star Pilot, Orion Sky Wizard 3, and TeleVue Sky Tour, as well as BBox, Ouranos, MicroGuider III and V, and other similar units.

Current SkyTools Standard Edition users can try the Real Time add-on as a free trial.  Open the SkyTools Preferences dialog, select the Add-on tab and click Trial.


How To Tell if Your Telescope Control System is Supported by SkyTools