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Is there a free program anywhere like Stellarium

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That lets you zoom in on nebula/galaxies/clusters etc, then as you zoom in and the object become more visable, at the same time, it tells you what magnification your viewing it at?

I love using Stellarium for looking at different things id like to view with my scope, but i get the feeling, a lot of them are going to be to faint for me to see with my Skywatcher 80ed pro or if i do manage to see them im not going to be able to see much detail.

I would imagine, a programe of this type would be of great benefit to anyone looking to buy a scope, they could then find out exactly what it is they wish to see and then buy the scope with enough magnification to suit!:icon_eek:

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The problem is not so much one of magnification, but rather of aperture. It is not so much that most nebulae are too small and require magnification but rather that they are too faint and need a large aperture to collect lots of light (and dark skies help too!).

Many programs can overlay photographic images of nebulae but you will not see this detail whatever aperture you have - they will have been taken often with hours of exposure!

All said, it would be a neat feature to have a program which given your aperture (and EPs and light pollution) details could reproduce realistic images.

You will not ever be able to match visually what photographic means can produce but that does not in any way lessen the excitement of finding your small grey smudge and the satisfaction that you are seeing something so far away!


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Don't think that magnification is the problem, the higher the magnification then the dimmer the image and DSO's are DIM. You need aperture for viewing them and that is simply the objective size. MAgnification does not make things more visible, it makes them less, it is aperture that makes them more visible.

Having a programme saying you need 300x and you have a 80mm scope is meaningless the scope won't support that and even if it could the image would be so faint that you could not actually see anything.

Get a list of DSO's, Messier list from Wikipedia, and start looking, keep a record of what was or was not visible. Would be useful to others to be aware of what is possible in an 80mm scope.

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Try Carte du Ciel (CdC) V3.

You can define the Field of View for various eyepieces/ finders/ camera and it will show the FOV circle as you zoom in on an object.

The other option ( not freeware) is AstroPlanner which allows you to listing an objects from some 200+ catalogues and define yur telescopes/ eyepieces etc works well with CdC.

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