PC Software

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PC Software

In this session, it is not in my intention giving a detailed description of the performance and technical data of the software I use in my observatory, so I limit my analysis only to what I consider fundamental.

TheSky 6

The Sky6 is a must to manage the Paramount, so it is impossible to not use it. I like very much the release 6, much more than the 5. At the beginning it seemed to me a little bit confuse, but I get familiarity very quickly.


CCDSoft is very user friendly, it is capable to manage the CCDCamera, the focuser (I have an Optec TCF-S) and the filter wheel (I have a TrueTechnology Custom filter wheel), but, which is more, it is able to insert astrometric data in the image.

On this subject, let me say that the joint venture TheSky+CCDSoft it is very powerful: select the object to observe, slew the telescope to that object and acquire an image seems thing easy to for today technology. It's true, but this joint venture does much more. TheSky passes the coordinates and the name of the object to CCDSoft, so that if you automatically save the image, CCDSoft write the name of the object in the name of the .fits file, and write in the header of the .fits file the coordinates of the object. At this point, inserting the WCS coordinates in the image it is very simple: CCDSoft reads the appropriate fits header ant tells TheSky to search for reference stars. After few seconds scrolling the mouse on the picture you can get the AR and Dec coordinates instead of pixels coordinates.


The goal of Orchestrate is to coordinate the operation between TheSky and CCDSoft: inserting a list of object to observe it is possible to get a full automatic telescope that find an object in TheSky, point it, takes a picture and save that picture with a specific name, then point to another object and doing the same things endless.


TPoint is not a real software, but you have to use it with TheSky. It really boosts the performance of the Paramount getting a very sharp pointing precision: in my case, at the present (September 2005) it gives the telescope the ability to point an object in any corner of the sky with a precision of 40 arcsec.

T-Point allow you to build a model to correct the errors of the telescope, any kind of error: gears error, not-perpendicularity of axis, flexure of OTA, flexure of the mount, polar alignment, etc.


It is very powerful with a lot of features and performances to manage the CCD frames. Generally I use CCDSoft to manage the CCd Camera, but now, with my new Apogee ALTA U47, I use MaxIm at the beginning of each observing session to set the sharpest possible focus. Its focus routine is wonderful and powerful.


I tried other softwares for astrometry, like CCDsoft and PinPoint, but probably Astrometrica is the best, eaesiest and fast to use. Sincerely it is able to pick-out from the CCD frame very faint objects, also with a S/N ratio under 3 sigma. At the present (November 2006) I use it for every astrometric measure.

Guide 8

Oh, my first unforgettable love! I like it much more than any other planetarium simulator, for its precision, user friendly interface and endless capability.

I use it to plan the observation, to check position of every kind of object, to check minor planet astrometry, to check suspect supernovae, to get date for deep sky object or planets. In conclusion I will be not a real astronomer without Guide 8. Thank you very much to ProjectPluto and Bill Gray!


I use it to manage the movie acquired with the webcam to get that sharp and detailed images visible in the photo gallery web page.


The European Southern Observatory-Munich Images and Data Analysis Software is breathtaking! It is not very user-friendly, but when you become familiar with this state-of-the-art software you can get miracles from this software. It is absolutely free: you can download it from ESO website, install on your Linux PC and use it.

In the pas I used it a lot, for professional data reduction, at the present I use it only for some special analysis, but in the near future, I am going to use it for any photometric study.