Editor: AstroPlanner is a software application for Macintosh and Windows computers that facilitates astronomical visual observation planning and logging as well as control of Meade telescopes that use the LX200, LX200GPS or AutoStar controllers, Celestron NexStar scopes, Astro-Physics GTO mounts, the Vixen SkySensor 2000 system , and several others. It also incorporates the Best Pair functionality for selecting optimum telescope alignment stars and tools for facilitating iterative and drift polar alignment via computer control of the telescope.
It is designed to enable the observer to set up a list of astronomical objects he/she wishes to observe. These are either entered manually, by lookup in the supplied database of astrometric catalogues (e.g. Messier, NGC, SAO, etc.), or by importing them from suitably formatted text files. Solar system objects are also supported (Sun, Moon, planets, comets and minor planets) and Comet/minor planet orbital elements can be imported in the usual formats (from a range or sources including the ASTORB and MPCORB databases).
Once entered the user can select items from the list for observation. The application uses the current time and site information (including horizon obstructions) to compute the visibility of the objects, so that only the ones currently above the horizon need be chosen. Rise, transit and set times are also computed to assist in planning a nights observing. Other sophisticated algorithms are incorporated to show parameters such as optimal detection magnification.
One or more observations can then be logged. By specifying telescope, eyepiece, etc. from a user defined list, the effective focal length, magnification and field of view can be computed, displayed and logged as well as user notes.