Re: Planetarium software

>Hi Dale,

>Thanks for reading my post. My goal is to use a planetarium app primarily for astrophotography with a path to automation and occasional light viewing. 

I’m not Dale, but will offer 2 cents as a TSX user.  TSX is an unusual package, in some ways, in that it is Planetarium, camera control, guider, and session manager wrapped up in one.  There are some others of these, mostly older software.


Perhaps because it is a bit of everything, it is not the best at any one.  In my mind, PHD2 for example is a better guiding program, with a lot more flexibility.


I find it better to build up a collection of best-of-breed tools and use them for what they do.  For me a planetarium software is mostly to identify targets I may want to image, find rise/transit/set time, altitude, etc. I then use a session manager (NINA) to actually execute what I plan, as it handles meridian flip (something TSX doesn’t do at all), coordinates flips and dithering with exposure, can do multiple targets in sequence based on time or altitude or exposure counts, etc.  So my planetary software at most feeds a coordinate set to NINA, then it is done.  (NINA has a limited set of planetarium features to help with framing/rotation as well as rise/set/transit times).


I’m not pushing NINA (though I like it), there are others like that – Voyager for example, or the venerable APT.


Personally I like Stellarium as a planetarium software but to me that’s mostly a function of screen appearance and one’s subjective taste – once you decided it is just a planning tool, it is easier to pick Planetarium based on UI and appearances more so than mount integration.  In fact, I do not even tie Stellarium to my mount (though it can).


The ability to plug and play different tools for different purposes is one success story in the otherwise pretty fractured astrophotography ecosystem, which can’t agree on much of anything else, from thread size to terminology to how to measure backfocus.  Pick the best of each, rather than a compromise that does it all.




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