Michael Fulbright <mike.fulbright@...>
You didn't mention if you image or not and if you do image if you use
If you image and use plate solving then spending money on a planetarium
program imho is kind of pointless. In most work flows based on plate
solving you aren't ever going to manually be selecting an object in the
planetarium program and slewing that way. Rarely will the catalog
coordinates even yield an ideal framing for objects that fill most the
I've used Cartes du Ciel since around 2005 and it just works and doesn't
have any goofy features like pronouncing the names of stars or all
that. Just tons of solid catalogs and a mechanism where you can pull
in custom catalogs fairly easily.
I plan all my imaging runs using Aladin to frame the object with a
custom FOV and this yields a position on the sky (J2000) and a rotation
I then let Sequence Generator Pro, or more recently EKOS (under Linux),
slew the mount to these coordinates and plate solve and iterate until it
is close enough to my desired target coordinates. The plate solve also
tells me the orientation of the camera so I use that to manually rotate
the focuser until I get the desired sky angle. Then I'm done for the
night and start the imaging run and goto sleep.
The only reason I have CdC running is so I can monitor the position of
the mount on the sky, or if I want to diagnose something like a poor
autofocus solution and I can use CdC to slew to a nearby bright star and
slap on the Bahtinov mask. It is mostly sitting there idle since my
imaging software is running the show.