Planetarium Software Review

With my purchase of binoculars from Orion and Celestron FirstScope, I received two planetarium software CDs.  The first was Starry Night Orion Special Edition and TheSkyX First Light Edition.  I decided to compare both so see which would be a good choice to start using.  I also added Stellarium to the comparison because it was free.  My long term plan is to get one of the paid edition but since I am just starting out, I figured I would use what I got.

Though I had heard of Starry Night before, I wasn’t impressed with the Orion Special Edition.  It did show the night sky at my location, date and time.  That was about it.  It had all the basic controls for a planetarium software.  I liked the opening prompt of what was visible in the sky tonight. There was no view of the constellations.  So it was hard to figure out what I was seeing.  I could click on a star to get more information.  I assume the paid editions offer more features.

TheSkyX seemed to have more features.  I like the ability to control what is displayed like constellations, star names, planets and Messier Objects.  It also had an observation list you could create.  It also showed a picture of the object when you selected it.  This looked a very good product.

Stellarium was an open source software.  I too liked itself user interface.  It didn’t seem to have all the features of the TheSkyX but was very straightforward.

I am going to try both the TheSkyX and Stellarium.

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