David's Astronomy Pages

  Observatory Use & Setup
Bullet Software Listing  
- Main Observatory Software  
- Supporting Observatory Software  
- Supporting Processing & Analysis Software  
- General Software  
- Other Astronomical Software  
Bullet Main Observatory Software  
- AIS - Astronomical Observing Software (own software)  
- TheSky 6, CCDSoft (Software Bisque)  
Bullet Other Software  
Bullet Scripting & Programming  


Software Listing

Full list of Software used for Astronomical Image Acquisition, Processing and Analysis is listed below.

The list gives main and support software used in the observatroy 

Software  Software Use Product WebSite 
Main Observatory Software Main Tools used for Target Acquisition and Imaging
- AIS (D.Richards) Overall CCD Imaging/Telescope Control, Target List Acquisition, 
Image Reduction, Image Analysis, Photometry, Astrometry
TheSky 6 (Software Bisque)   Planetarium & Telescope Control, Image Linking, Image Reduction http://www.bisque.com/sc/pages/thesky6family.aspx 
- CCDSoft v5 (Software Bisque) CCD Camera Control & Imaging, Photometry http://www.bisque.com/sc/shops/store/CCDSoftWin2.aspx 
Supporting Observatory Software Tools used to support Telescope & Imaging
- Dimension 4 (Thinking Man Software) PC Clock Synchronization http://www.thinkman.com/dimension4/ 
- TPoint v1 (Software Bisque) Telescope pointing http://www.bisque.com/sc/shops/store/tpoint-win-box.aspx 
- RealVnc v4.1 (RealVNC Ltd) - old Remote Monitoring / Remote Control (Server & Viewer) http://www.realvnc.com/vnc 
- UltraVnc v1.0.9.6 (uvnc) - new Remote Monitoring / Remote Control (Server & Viewer) http://www.uvnc.com/ 
- NetResView (Nir Sofer) LAN IP Addresses  http://www.nirsoft.net/ 
- CCD Inspector v2.1 (CCDWare) Collimination Support, FITS Image Measurements http://www.ccdware.com/products/ccdinspector/ 
- PemPro v2 (CCDWare) Periodic Error Analysis and PEC creation/uploading http://www.ccdware.com/products/pempro/ 
- Autostar Updater - ASU v4.9 (Meade) Autostar II updates http://www.meade.com/support/auto.html 
- StarPatch v1.6 (PixSoft Inc) Autostar II updates http://www.stargps.ca/StarPatch.htm 
- RSpec 1.4.0 (Tom Field) Spectroscopic Image Processing & Analysis http://www.rspec-astro.com/ 
Satellite Tracker 2.4.9  (Brent Boshart) Satellite Tracking with LX200 http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/satellitetracker/ 
Supporting Processing & Analysis Software Tools used to support Image Analysis/Interpretation
- AstroImageTool (D.Richards) FITS Image Manipulation, Session Summary, Mosaic Construction http://www.richweb.f9.co.uk/astro/scripting.htm
- Visual Spec (Valerie Desnoux) Spectroscopic Image Processing & Analysis http://www.astrosurf.com/vdesnoux/ 
Sigma Clip v10 beta (Ray Gralak) Master Dark, Flat Frame preparation http://www.gralak.com/Sigma/ 
- AIP4WIN v2.1 (Berry & Burnell) Viewing, calibrating, measuring, and enhancing FITS images http://www.willbell.com/aip/index.htm 
- IRIS 5.55 (Christian Buil) FITS Image Viewer / Image Enhancement http://www.astrosurf.com/buil/us/iris/iris.htm 
- FV v5 (Nasa) FITS Image Viewer / Image Enhancement http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/ftools/fv/ 
- Registax v5 (Cor Berrevoets) FITS Image Stacking / Planetary Imaging http://www.astronomie.be/registax/ 
- Aladin (CDS) Interactive software sky atlas. Online Image/Catalog access. http://aladin.u-strasbg.fr/aladin.gml
- Mars Previewer II (Leandro Rios) Interactive map for Mars observing http://www.skyandtelescope.com/resources/software/3304921.html 
- UranianSats (Dennis W. Tracey) Visual Ephemeris program for Uranian Moons http://www.winnipeg.rasc.ca/ftp/dtracy/ (link broken)
- Binary Maker v3 (Contact Software) Binary Star Modelling  http://www.binarymaker.com/ 
- FindOrb (Project Pluto) Orbital Determimation Software  http://www.projectpluto.com/find_orb.htm 
General Software
MS Excel 2003 (Microsoft) Session/Image Inventory, Graphs, Data Analysis http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/excel/default.aspx 
- MS Frontpage 2000 (Microsoft) Website Authoring http://office.microsoft.com 
- MS Internet Explorer 8 / 9 (Microsoft) HTML file viewing, web searches. http://www.microsoft.com/windows/internet-explorer 
- Textpad v4.0 (Helios Software Solutions) Text / Data File Editing http://www.textpad.com/ 
- PaintShop 5 (ex Jasc Software) GIF, JPG, BMP Image Creation/Editing http://www.corel.com 
- AnimationShop v1 (ex Jasc Software) Animated GIF Creation http://www.corel.com 
- Visual Basic Express 2008 / 2010 (Microsoft) Software Programming for AIS program http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/vbasic/default.aspx 
- Borland Delphi 4 (ex Borland) Software Programming for Astroimage tool http://www.embarcadero.com/products/delphi 
Other Astronomical Software Software loaded but not regularly used or non critical
- Starry Night Pro 5 (Starry Night) PC Planetarium/Sky Map/Astronomy http://www.starrynightstore.com/
- Meade Astronomical Software v 3.17 (Meade) PC Planetarium/Sky Map http://www.starrynightstore.com/
- TCF-S Controller (Optec) Optec TCF Controller (for Focuser) http://www.optecinc.com/astronomy/downloads.htm 
- The Planets v2.02 (cpac) Interactive Planetary Ephemeredes (Saturn/Jupiter) http://www.cpac.org.uk/solar.asp 
- Lunar Map Pro (Riti) Interactive Lunar Map http://www.riti.com/prodserv_lunarmappro.htm 

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Main Observatory Software  

AIS - Astronomical Imaging Software (my own software)

My AIS program (written in Visual Basic Express 2005, 2008) is used for overall control of the Observatory Equipment  and image acquisition, processing and analysis. It has a functionality that pretty well matches any of the commercially available telescope/imaging control programs which have sprung onto the market place in recent years, but is strongly customised towards my workflows and method of observing & imaging.

Run from the observatory laptop the AIS software uses calls to object methods and properties in the TheSky6 and CCDSoft 5 programs (Software Bisque) to provide control of the following equipment in the observatory
- LX200 telescope, 
- CCD Camera, 
- Filter Wheel 
- Temperature Compensating Focuser

The program handles the acquisition of images for one or many targets using a session target list, and is well suited for either a full night of automated image acquisition of a nights target list or for semi-automated control where the target list is updated on the fly as new targets are specified or existing targets are re-prioritised.   The program has other routines for preparing observing lists, for assisting image reduction, processing and analysis, including batch photometric analysis (VMA) and astrometric analysis.  

Improvements and new additions to the program are made regularly to support particular imaging challenges & projects.

   Description and screen shots

TheSky6 and CCDSoft 5 (Software Bisque)

TheSky 6 and CCDSoft are key components of my observatory software suite. Whilst they are fully functional programs in their own right, I mainly use them under control of from my own AIS program which acts as a high level Shell.  Commands are sent to these programs by AIS, which then forward the commands to observing equipment such as the Telescope (via TheSky 6) or the CCD Camera & Focuser (via CCDSoft).   A key feature of these programs is that an image taken in CCDSoft can be quickly image linked to stars in TheSky virtual sky, allowing the precise,  location, orientation & scale of an image to be determined. On one hand this can give information on the precise position where the telescope in pointing, and on the other information on the location and names of stars and other objects in an image.

[TheSky 6 is in the process of being superceded by Sky X, however it is probable that I will stick with the current software version which is relatively stable , does what I need without fuss]

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Software Examples

Examples of the use of various items of software  

Aladin  First experiences with Aladin software
Binary Maker  Example of use of Binary Maker for modelling HD 5513
FV  Examples of False Colour Images generated using FV software tool
Mars Previewer II  Use of Mars Previewer II during observations of 2003 opposition 
RealVnc   More information about use of RealVnc for remote monitoring and control of the observatory laptop
UranianSats  Use of UranianSats to identify moons of Uranus in 2002 CCD Image
VisualSpec  Use of Visual Spec for Spectroscopic Processing and Analysis






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Scripting & Programming

I've been writing and using Visual Basic script programs for Image Acquisition and Analysis since 2002 and these have proved to be a significant enabler for my astronomical work.

Several programs have been written during this time, each building upon the foundation of the previous program and reusing main code components and introducing improved functionality.  My program's access and utilise CCDSOFT and THESKY software programs using method/property calls.

The current program (AIS) is written in Visual Basic Express 2008 and using it I have functionality which pretty well matches any of the commercially available telescope/imaging control programs which have sprung onto the market place in recent years.  

Scripting/programming is not for everyone, but for me it provides me with the flexibility to add almost any new functionality/feature just as quick as I come up with a need or new idea and then write/adapt and test the necessary new subroutines.

More information :

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This Web Page: Software 
Last Updated : 2015-02-25
Site Owner : David Richards
Home Page : David's Astronomy Web Site