TheSky 64 Quick Start Guide

TheSky 64 Bit for Windows is now available!

As of the first quarter of 2021, TheSky 64 bit is available for the Windows operating system. This page is displayed in TheSky 64 bit for Windows the first time it is run.

OK, what’s in it for me?

TheSky has been around a long time, since back in 1983. Computers have changed drastically over time, and TheSky continues to keep pace. TheSky 64 bit for Windows represents a significant technological update and ensures a continued, bright future.

Perhaps without knowing it, until now, you have been running TheSky 32 bit. TheSky 64 bit is its successor. One significant advantage of a 64 bit application is that it can access more memory, which is particularly important when taking photos with large format CMOS cameras. TheSky 64 bit is unique in that it actually achieves better sky chart performance, showing larger databases and offers more reliable control of large format cameras.

So what is the problem?

Nothing, really. Most astronomical equipment is now supported by TheSky 64 bit, plus most third party automation packages can now leverage TheSky 64 bit!

June 2021 update: – The majority of astronomical equipment now have drivers compatible with TheSky 64 bit!

The best case scenario is you’ll run TheSky 64-bit, experience few or no issues and never look back. However, you may encounter select astronomical equipment that does not offer support from a 64-bit application like TheSky 64 bit. Despite our best efforts, not all equipment manufacturers offer 64-bit plug ins/device drivers, so lack of support may be somewhat out of Software Bisque’s control. We’ve worked very hard to ease the migration to TheSky 64 bit and will continue to encourage and help third-party manufacturers provide 64-bit compatible plugins/device drivers. In general, if a driver is not listed in TheSky 64 bit, it means it doesn’t exist (yet).

October, 2021 update: Most third party automation software can now take advantage of TheSky 64 bit!

Another “sticky wicket”: Third-party automation software that leverages TheSky will need updated (modified) to be compatible with TheSky 64 bit. If you routinely use a third-party program that depends on TheSky for automation, you may have to continue to run TheSkyX 32 bit while the automation program(s) are updated to be compatible with TheSky 64 bit.

What should I do now? How can I help?

Please give TheSky 64 bit a try. If you run into problems or have questions, post them to TheSky Pro Support Forum. We look forward to your positive, constructive feedback.

If you do encounter unexpected behavior, or a problem, do not panic. Please continue using TheSkyX (32-bit) while we work things out with TheSky 64-bit. We have worked hard to allow 32 and 64 bit copies of TheSky to coexist and run from a single install, sharing databases, separating settings, avoiding collisions. This prevents a potential back breaking cutover from TheSkyX (32-bit) to TheSky 64-bit. We really appreciate your patience and help bringing TheSky 64-bit into the fold.

Where are all my settings?

As you use TheSky 64-bit, you may notice that not every one of your settings is identical to TheSky 32-bit and some may have returned to their default values. This is partially out of necessity because TheSky 64 bit is completely independent from TheSkyX (32 bit). We want to make sure you understand this important distinction. There are technical hurdles preventing the migration of every setting. Besides, if every setting was automatically migrated, you might think TheSkyX (32 bit) and TheSky 64 are the same, but they are not. Again, they are completely independent, but still feature identical.

Imaging system profiles, i.e. equipment selections, are NOT automatically migrated. The justification is that the plugins/drivers for 64 bit are an entirely different architecture plus for some equipment a compatible 64-bit plugin/driver might not even exist (yet). Due to the complexities of trying to programmatically migrate these imaging system profiles, it is instead left up to you to make these selections.

There are also some file path related settings that are also not automatically migrated. Given the breadth and width of TheSky’s features and versatility, the user can relatively easily restore these settings as compared to an application having to try to accommodate the nearly endless number of possible configurations and permutations.

To help you get started, your serial number(s), a copy of your sky chart settings, field of view indicators (FOVIs), and TPoint telescope model are automatically migrated from TheSkyX (32-bit) to TheSky 64 bit.

Had we not done this, running TheSky 64 bit for the first time would have been identical to a ‘fresh install’ and you would likely be making your favorite settings again, and or trying to manually copy over settings files from TheSkyX (32-bit).

Disclaimer: Software Bisque has made a effort to migrate as many settings as reasonably possible, but it is not an exact science and you might have to make a few modifications to TheSky 64 bit settings.

One potential downside of automatically migrating settings from TheSkyX (32 bit) to TheSky 64 bit is that it is easy to get confused and think the two are identical, but they are not.

To help avoid confusion when running TheSky 64 bit, notice the following visual clues:

  • TheSky 64-bit icon (that appears on every window in TheSky and in the Windows taskbar) looks drastically different from TheSkyX (32-bit).
  • TheSky 64 bit’s main window caption includes the suffix “(64 bit).”
  • Click Help > About TheSky to see TheSky 64 bit graphic.

One way to think about this is the very first time TheSky 64 bit is run, TheSky 64 bit takes a snapshot of all the settings from TheSkyX (32-bit), then migrates and loads them automatically.

TheSky 64 Settings That May Need to be Restored

The following settings may need to be restored before using TheSky 64 bit:

  • The Paramount’s Park position must be redefined. Slew the telescope to the desired park position, then click Telescope window > Shut Down pop-up menu > Set Park Position to define it.
  • Advanced Autoguider settings and the Advanced Camera Settings may need to be reconfigured:
  1. From Windows or Linux, click Edit > Preferences; on macOS click TheSkyX > Preferences.
  2. Click the Advanced icon.
  3. Under Camera options, turn on the Advanced User Interface checkbox.
  4. Under Camera options, turn on the Separate Interface for Autoguider’s Devices checkbox.
  5. Click File > Exit and relaunch TheSky so that these settings take effect.

Going forward, if you change TheSkyX (32-bit) settings, they do not affect TheSky 64 bit, and vice-versa.

Thanks for using TheSky!