Clear Skies Observing Guides: Digital Help for Targeting Deep-Sky Objects

The July 2007 issue of Sky & Telescope includes an article by Paul Markov about making and using an observing logbook. Tony Flanders wrote a short accompanying article about using software for planning and logging your observations and noted AstroPlanner by iLanga, Inc.

Need a tour guide for your scope?
Sky & Telescope / Craig Michael Utter
In a serendipitous event, contributing editor Sue French, who writes our monthly Deep-Sky Wonders column, recently emailed me to point out a helpful website for observers. Victor van Wulfen's Clear Skies includes an impressive list of checklists and logging sheets. He also created log files for AstroPlanner. His efforts will allow you to tackle constellations' worth of deep-sky targets that will keep you busy for years.

But that's not all. Van Wulfen has also created innumerable (I'm not counting them) sky-tour files for Celestron NexStar and Meade Autostar telescopes. He's made separate tours for a variety of objects for each constellation. Only want to look at galaxies in Ursa Major? Download the appropriate file, load it into your telescope's computer hand paddle, and let your computer take you there. Van Wulfen's categories include dark nebulae, globular star clusters, and carbon stars (very red stars).


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