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For years I've been a loyal user of Stellarium, it's very simple to use and provides me with most of what I need. I would unreservedly recommend it as an essential tool to anyone starting out in astronomy. The great folks behind it are very active and continually working on improvements and new features.

But there are several other free planetarium programs including Cartes du Ciel and C2A and a few more. I discovered C2A a few days ago, and it has some interesting features, especially for observation planning. There a pop-ups to show when an object will be visible, a graphic of Moon phases etc. and a built-in log book facility. You can also add a very wide range of object catalogues.

So, what are people using? And what are the pros and cons of different programs?

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I used to use Cartes du Ciel, but in the end got fed up with the sluggish redraws and the very old fashioned UI. Currently I'm using SkytechX - http://skytechx.eu/  which seems to have all the features I need (mount control, etc) and be fast and easy to use. It's not 100% perfect, but it's the best free option I've found so far. I rate Stellarium very highly on the graphics (great for outreach), but not so highly on practicality.



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Sky Safari 4 or Sky Portal ( SP is free ) both work very well on my tablet and can direct my Evo scope.

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Another vote for Sky Safari 4 Pro!!

I use it for planning observing sessions and out with the scope as well.


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I have got starwalk downloaded onto my ipad, it wasn't free but only cost a few pounds. Have checked and there is an android version as well

i like the way once you put your location in I can hold my tablet up to the sky and it will show what is there.

all I need is a telescope now :)

here is a link to the youtube video.





Edited by Cactusstar
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I'm currently using SkySafari 5 on my iPad.

Also have pUniverse that I use there too.

Used to use Sky Map Pro 10.  Still have it and it works well, it's very dated and no longer supported.


I'd considered getting something for my PC or MacBook, but so far I'd not found a need to do so.  Actually the software for mobiles devices I've found to be far more convenient for my needs.

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