Support for the
USNO Stellar Catalog (Level IV only)
For the amateur who needs access to stars down to 21 magnitude (all
526,280,881 of them!), TheSky Level IV can display stars from the United States Naval Observatory Catalog (USNO). Click on the link below for more information about this catalog.
Click here for more information about the USNO CD-ROMs
with TheSky Level IV for Window.
The Export Command (available in
TheSky Level III and TheSky Level IV only) can generate lists of celestial objects using a wide variety of criteria to decide which are included and which omitted. Because the selecting and sorting criteria are so varied and flexible, there is almost no limit to the kinds of lists you can create. A few examples of the lists that can be created include:
- Messier objects above the horizon.
- NGC open clusters currently above the horizon.
- All galaxies 4
arcminutes or greater in width and brighter than magnitude 12.
- Man-made satellites currently above the horizon.
- Minor planets currently between 4 hours and 6 hours right ascension and higher than 30
- All stars visible from the viewing site at a particular time.
Lists can be exported in plain-text (ANSI) format, or in a format suitable for Orchestrate
Scripting Software scripts. TheSky's
Export command is used principally to create observer lists.
Customize Your Sky
TheSky is flexible and fully customizes its display of the "virtual" sky on your command. For example, you can remove menus and status bars so that the screen appears as a window to the sky, or you can select Chart Mode and make the screen resemble a printed color star chart with a white background. Essentially everything that appears on the TheSky's display and on its printed star charts can be customized to your liking! In addition, you can place TheSky's dockable toolbars anywhere on the screen, and you can instruct the status bar to display any combination of Screen Position, Cursor Position, Earth Location, Field Width, Telescope Position, Date, and Time.
Pilot the Heavens from Your Desktop
Dozens of commands make it easy to view any area of the sky. Click the North, East, South, West, or Zenith buttons to display the night sky as it appears from your location, or use the Move To function to select an area of the sky in either horizon (azimuth-altitude) or equatorial (right ascension-declination) coordinates. TheSky then displays your selected field of view, labeling celestial objects at your request. Keyboard accelerators and toolbar buttons allow you to adjust TheSky's display up, down, left, or right. To zoom in, simply drag a "zoom box" around the desired field with the mouse, and TheSky automatically resizes the new area to fit your window. It's like using a telescope to magnify a particular area of the sky, instantly!
Object Labels and Reference Lines
To keep from getting lost in space, you can select any combination of object labels and reference lines for TheSky's display and for your printed star charts. You can choose which celestial objects show labels, and you can define exactly what type of label should be displayed for each type of object. (For example, you can label stars and non-stellar objects with their common names in a blue, 10-point Verdana font!) You can even use the Extended Labeling option to add a field from TheSky's Object Database to your custom charts.
In addition, TheSky can show many types of reference lines, including constellation lines and boundaries, equatorial and horizon coordinate grids, the local horizon line (with the refracted horizon), the line of the ecliptic, Milky Way "isophotes," the galactic equator, the local meridian, telescope limit lines and an optional North/East indicator.
Finding and Identifying Objects
can find any object in TheSky's Object Database
just by entering its name in the Find
dialog box. Since TheSky contains
literally thousands of cross-references,
a single object may be found by a number
of different names. For example,
you can find the Whirlpool Galaxy by
typing whirlpool, M51, NGC 5194,
UGC8493, or PGC47404 and you can search
for objects by their Bayer/Flamsteed
numbers (stars), common name, or catalog
designation. Fuzzy searches work
as too — typing "casseeopia"
If you click on any on-screen object in TheSky, a wealth of information about that object is displayed, including the object's common name and catalog number(s), equatorial and horizon-based coordinates, magnitude, spectral class, distance from Earth and rise-transit-set time. For non-stellar objects, TheSky displays additional information, such as the size, the position angle, and the Dreyer description of the object.
Custom Star Charts
can create beautiful hard copy output
because TheSky gives you the power to
print both color and black and white
star charts to any printing
device. In addition, TheSky lets
you customize star charts to your own
liking. Make a star chart that
looks like a Uranometria 2000.0™
chart, or generate a variable star chart
that is suitable for use by the AAVSO.
TheSky also supports the creation of
star charts as a metafile (Windows) or
PICT picture (Macintosh). You can then
import these star charts into graphics
programs that support these
formats! Check out our
sample star chart
for more details.
Click on the Portable Document Format (PDF) sample star charts below to view them using Adobe Acrobat.
Computer-Driven and Software-Guided Telescopes
TheSky Levels II, III and IV can be
used to control just about every
commercial go to or robotic telescope, including:
- Any Telescope supporting the
Astronomy Command Language (ACL)
- Astro-Physics GTO German
NexStar™ 4 (all models)
NexStar™ 5 (all models)
NexStar™ 8 (all models)
NexStar™ 11 (all models)
Celestron CGE (all
- DFM Engineering Telescopes
Meade Autostar II (LX200 GPS)
Bisque Paramount GT-1100™
Software Bisque Paramount GT-1100S™
- Losmandy Gemini (emulates LX200)
- Meridian Systems ArcImage
- Telescope Applications Programming
Interface (TeleAPI) for third
party-custom telescope support
- Quadrant Systems Coordinate III
- Takashi Temma Mounts
- Vixen SkySensor (emulates LX200)
additional serial communications cable
is required and can be purchased from
our telescope page for details.
also pioneered the technology for
that is, using optical encoders and a
serial communications box to sense the
When used in conjunction with one of these telescopes, TheSky displays real-time cross hairs on your computer screen to show you exactly where your telescope is currently pointing. (If you like, TheSky can also overlay a circle or rectangle on its display to indicate the relative field of view for your telescope.) You can then click TheSky's Slew To button (or use the Guide To command for software-guided telescopes) to point your telescope to any object in TheSky's Object Database. You can also use one of TheSky's myriad telescope functions for slewing, jogging, centering, star searching or focusing.
TheSky for Windows in conjunction with CCDSoft,
you can control both computer-driven
telescopes and CCD cameras,
creating a powerful system for
astronomical observations. For more
details, refer to our Internet
Astronomy Software (IAS) page.
hardware may be required to communicate
telescope. Please contact Software
Bisque for details about the hardware
requirements for your telescope.
Animated Celestial Motion
With TheSky, you can speed time to animate the motion (in either equatorial or horizon-based coordinates or in the 3D Solar System Mode) of solar system objects, such as planets, comets, and minor planets. Using the Trail option, you can display the path of objects as they move, and you can easily replay any event with the Reset, Forward, and Reverse commands. TheSky comes with many sample animation "documents," such as the retrograde motion of Mars, the path of the Sun during a year (creating the analemma), and the Moon grazing the solar disk during a partial eclipse.
The Database Manager and Database Compiler
Database Manager and Database Compiler
(Level II, III and IV only) give you the power to add custom data from a text file to the Object Database. You can incorporate virtually any type of data into TheSky's arsenal, including celestial objects, reference points, object labels, and equatorial and horizon coordinate reference lines. The process is simple. You use TheSky's Database Compiler to create a "Sky Database" (SDB) from your text data file, and you then use TheSky's Database Manager to activate that SDB. In just minutes, you can turn your celestial data into a custom star chart!
Level IV of TheSky contains a toolset known as Image Link that makes it easy for you to identify celestial objects in your CCD images or scanned photographs. With Image Link, you can import a digital image (from CCDSoft, RealSky, or other sources.) into TheSky, and you can then instruct TheSky to position the image appropriately, making the celestial objects in your image overlay their counterparts in the TheSky's display. Once this alignment is achieved, your image becomes an interactive star chart rather than static pixel data, enabling you to label objects in your image, add grid lines, identify objects, and much more. If you're running TheSky for Windows, check out our Image Link example, featuring a CCDSoft image of the Horsehead Nebula.
TheSky Works in Concert with Our Other Products
Increase your astronomical power by using TheSky in concert with one of our other products.
On the Macintosh, TheSky and RealSkyView can be combined to overlay images from the Digitized Sky Survey directly on the graphical sky display.
Under Windows, TheSky's
various Levels can be used together with RealSkyView, CCDSoft CCD Astronomy Software, TPoint Telescope Pointing Analysis Software, Orchestrate Scripting Software and
AutomaDome (dome control software) to create an unmatched observatory software suite.
Check out our other products for more details.