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SkyTools 4 Pro Atlas is Remarkable
In my electronically-assisted astronomy (EAA) session last night, I was *amazed* at the detail in SkyTools 4 Pro's Atlas. I was trying to see if I could see the galaxy cluster labeled ACO 2065 in SkyTools. This galaxy cluster is known as Abell 2065, but often listed (not just in SkyTools) with the "ACO" designation so it won't be confused with the Abell Catalog of Planetary Nebulae. (I was curious as to why we use "ACO" for the galaxy cluster catalog listing and found that ACO is an acronym referring to the *three* authors of that catalog, George Abell, H. Corwin, and R. P. Orowin.) Make no mistake - these are difficult targets. In Harrington's Cosmic Challenge, Harrington maintains that this target is extremely difficult in an 18-inch scope. In fact, as the author of the book, he's honest about the fact that he rarely can detect these galaxies through his own 18-inch. (Part of the reason is - the galaxy cluster is 1 billion light years away.) But the stunningly beautiful charts built into SkyTools serve patient observers amazingly well. Here's a screenshot of the moment I found the galaxy known as MCG 5-36-18 (also known as PGC 54868).

[Image: MCG_5-36-18-38_min_2022-04-15.png]

The left window of the screenshot above is the "live" view through my RASA 11. I believe my cursor might just be pointing directly at MCG 5-36-18 (PGC 54868). The *right* window, obviously, is the Atlas from SkyTools. There's a lot of information there. But it REALLY helped. 

In contrast, for what it's worth, please allow me to insert below a screenshot of Stellarium's view of the area:

[Image: stellarium-ACO2065.png]

If you're confused by the screenshot above, it's no wonder. Essentially, Stellarium just provides a placeholder for ACO2065 -- and this is in spite of the fact that I have loaded into Stellarium every last catalog that is possibly available. Note the message at the bottom of this dialogue box in Stellarium attesting to the fact that "all star catalogs have been installed:"

[Image: stellarium-all_catalogs.png]

So whereas SkyTools has an *enormous* amount of sky data about *each* *individual* *star* (let alone the galaxies and galaxy cluster), Stellarium shows *dead* *black* *empty* *space*.

Blank space.

This is Version 23.4 of Stellarium. It's the very latest version:

[Image: stellarium_news.png]

Now that I've experienced SkyTools  - with an 11-inch RASA telescope -- I can't *imagine* using Stellarium as my primary atlas ever again. I'd be missing so much!

Of course, now I'm all-the-more eager for Greg to release the EAA version of SkyTools - because SkyTools was bound and determine to tell me that it was impossible for my RASA 11 to *detect* these galaxies -- which is one of the many reasons why I'm relying on EAA instead of an eyepiece.

If you'd like to see my painstakingly (and I'm sure, *annoying*) search to get oriented in this part of the sky hahahaha, check out the live stream below. I've taken the liberty of cueing it up to the moment I start working with the Atlas to try to find these galaxies (which are, by the way, Magnitude 17 and 18 -- and a mere 1 BILLION Light Years distant... and are only pinpoints at that distance). (Again, apologies for the fact that I'm still very new at using SkyTools. But even in the hands of a downright newbie, it's still incredibly helpful.)

So - if you're listening Greg, thank you for your work. I'm not sure if you will hear the part of the video in which one of the viewers of the live stream chimes in, "Oh yes...  SkyTools was developed by a professional astronomer. That's why it has all this information." : )

(But also, if you're listening, please keep this kind of astronomy in mind for the EAA version and please remove all of the suggested limitations on my scope. With EAA, many of those limitations just don't seem to apply any more. Please let us see the entire list of targets, regardless of what SkyTools thinks we *ought* to be able to detect, and let the *scope* decide which ones it can see - please. Thank you brother!!!)

I'm "all in" on SkyTools.


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SkyTools 4 Pro Atlas is Remarkable - by EmeraldHillsSkies - 2024-02-15, 03:30 PM

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