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How Do I Choose the Best Telescope Software?

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  • Written By: Alex Newth
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2016
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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Telescope software enables stargazers, either as professional researchers or hobbyists, to see deep into space and watch celestial bodies. Some of these programs are made to control telescopes connected to a computer, while others show three-dimensional (3D) models for those who do not have a telescope handy. Important features people should look for are voice support, night-vision modes, the ability to save tours, and charting tools for comet or asteroid movement. With these features, it will be much easier for users to navigate through the celestial bodies and find exactly what they are looking for.

The two main types of telescope software are telescope controls and 3D models. The latter is not real telescope software but is often marketed as such. This will be useful for those who do not have a telescope but want to see accurate renditions of space based on precise calculations and observed behaviors. Telescope control software is the real version, because it integrates with a telescope connected to a computer and allows users to move the telescope accordingly.

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Voice support is a feature in which the program speaks to the user to relay the telescope’s location. Programs without this feature force users to pay attention to a screen containing the current location. By looking at the location window, rather than what is being displayed, the user may miss the celestial body for which he or she is looking. While voice support is not needed, it will help the user look through the telescope’s eye, rather than looking at navigational numbers.

A night-vision mode does not help the telescope function better, but it does help the user. Many stargazers use telescopes at night and, because of this, have to stare at a computer screen in the dark. This can cause eye damage, but a night-vision mode will optimize the screen for nighttime. While not alleviating eyestrain entirely, this will help users look through the telescope for longer periods of time.

Tours, in regard to telescope software, are when the user saves navigational information for several celestial bodies. For example, if the user wants to look at a planet, a star field, and then a meteor shower, the telescope program will save all these points and then allow the user to tour them. The more points that can be saved in a single tour, the better.

Charting features will help the user chart where celestial bodies will be in a given period. This is useful when observing a comet or asteroid. By taking the speed and other factors about the celestial body, the telescope software will be able to determine the exact position for the user.

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