News: SkyTools 3 is being
replaced by SkyTools 4, which has been split into two separate
products, SkyTools Imaging
and SkyTools Visual.
September 5, 2018, Skyhound released SkyTools 4 Imaging. The
visual product will follow later this fall. SkyTools 4 has
been many years in development and represents a big step
forward for observing software.
a very limited time, SkyTools 3 will still be available for
purchase, and anyone who purchases it will qualify for a free
upgrade to SkyTools 4 Visual when it is released.
about SkyTools 4 Imaging
is the only complete suite of software tools designed
specifically for astronomical observing. Designed by an avid
observer trained as a professional astronomer, each tool is
second to none. But what makes SkyTools truly powerful is the
seamless and intuitive way each tool works with the others.
Join the author for a
tour of the SkyTools Nightly Planner
The SkyTools Nightly
Planner is a powerful tool with unique capabilities.
The author demonstrates his intuitive approach to
planning visual observations.
SkyTools 3 Highlight Tour
The author takes you
on a whirlwind tour with something for everyone, from
star hoppers to astrophotographers.
all Astronomy Software is the Same
the Astronomy that matters
It is the
astronomy that separates SkyTools from planetariums and
the spreadsheet planners. Observing software should help
you find new objects that are suitable for your equipment
and conditions and tell you if any given object is worth
your effort. It should help you figure out which of these
objects are best to observe tonight, and what time of
night they are best observed. These things should not be
based on some rule of thumb, but on an accurate scientific
model that takes into account everything from the amount
of light pollution to the characteristics of the object.
How well a deep sky
object appears in the telescope depends primarily on the
contrast, and only SkyTools uses a scientific model that
computes contrast at any given moment in time. By
comparing contrast at different times of the night, for
varying equipment or sky conditions, SkyTools can tell you
definitively when you will get your best view. Similarly,
for astro-imaging, SkyTools computes the signal-to-noise
ratio, which also varies with equipment, conditions, and
target object. In this way the SkyTools planner answers
the important astronomy questions, providing much more
powerful tools, yet surprisingly, they are more simple to
Nobody who owns SkyTools should get stuck
observing the same objects again and again, end up
looking at crappy views of nebulae near the horizon, or be
left wondering why they weren't able to see that comet
everyone is talking about.
is a complete observing system. It's foundations are
highly-corrected databases and scientific models. On top of this
foundation sit the planning tools, finder charts,
telescope simulations, fully-featured interactive atlas,
and logbook. Observers can count on these tools to help
them get more from their limited time to observe, and
spend more time observing and less time fiddling with
see the core of the SkyTools approach feel free to
download the free trial of
the Starter Edition. Although not suitable for larger
telescopes and devoid of many features, the author's
ability to get straight to the heart of observation
planning shines through.
are some of the things that make SkyTools stand head and
shoulders above the rest.
Integrated Databases -- Only
SkyTools draws the best data from multiple sources to
create highly corrected databases for both stars and
deep sky objects. Learn
Planning -- Only SkyTools uses a comprehensive
scientific model for planning that fully takes into account your
telescope and observing conditions. The result is much
smarter planning, including true optimum times to
observe and direct comparisons to other nights,
scopes, or conditions. Learn
Difficulty Ratings -- Objects
are rated as "obvious",
"difficult", "very challenging",
etc, as seen in any telescope/binoculars under any
observing conditions at any given time. Other software
with similar-sounding features are either very limited or
only make generic estimates.
Splittability Ratings -- Star pairs are rated as
"obvious split", "difficult",
"challenging", etc. Not
only is this useful in choosing pairs to observe, but
you can readily compare ratings on different nights
and under different conditions.
Charts -- The unique SkyTools finder charts make
"star hopping" easy. These finder charts
have been tested on complete novices with great
success and continuously refined for nearly 20 years.
Double Stars Are Accurately Depicted on Charts -- only
SkyTools allows you to
zoom in to any double star
-- even binaries with orbits -- to accurately
see the individual component stars
correctly for any given date.
Interactive Atlas -- a highly customizable
"atlas on a computer"
that in itself is as powerful as many other software
Session Planner -- (Pro) The
imaging session planning tools predict the final
signal-to-noise-ratio of your image for any telescope,
camera, or observing conditions. Rules of thumb can
only take you so far because there are too many
variables. Does it make sense to keep exposing after
the moon rises? Which filter is least effected by
moonlight? How many images do you need to stack to get
a good detection of a supernova? SkyTools can answer
these questions for your imaging system and your
observing conditions. Learn
Telescope Control -- Plan what to observe in real
time at the telescope, then effortlessly drive the
scope to your targets. Or find an area of the sky on
the atlas and drag the scope around the sky by moving
the field of view.
Comet and Novae/Supernovae Data -- At Skyhound we
monitor recent observations, updating within hours of
a nova or supernova discovery, and we keep the
magnitudes, coma diameters and DC up to date for the
observable comets. This information is easily
downloaded from within SkyTools in the form of one of
the "Current" observing lists, ready for use
in the planner.
more about the unique and
powerful features in SkyTools for comet observing.
3 on your Tablet, Laptop & Desktop
license allows you to install SkyTools on all of your
Windows devices, and the Sync feature ensures that they all have
the same data.
your observing at your desk, then take your tablet or
laptop out to use at the telescope. Log your observations
in the field, and then transfer them to your desktop.
telescope from your Windows tablet. SkyTools + ASCOM support more
telescopes than any other platform, and ASCOM is only
available for Windows. Read more...
3 is Available in Three Editions
3 Starter Edition
the novice backyard observer with binoculars or a
telescope up to 4.5 inches (120 mm) in aperture. This
edition is simple enough for anyone to use and comes
with a beginners observing handbook (pdf).
Read about the Starter Edition
3 Standard Edition
the basic visual observer with a moderate sized
telescope up to ~14 inches (360 mm).
about the Standard Edition
Windows Download or Windows CDROM
3 Professional Edition
the astronomical imager, the experienced visual
observer who observes from dark a site, or any
serious observer who wants the very best in
observing software. This edition has advanced
features and a much larger stellar database with
stars down to 20th magnitude. The Real Time Add-on
about the Professional Edition
Windows Download or
USB Flash Drive
SkyTools 3 Secrets: Ten Useful Things
Other Software Can't Do
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