Ursa Minor SkyTour Planetarium and mount control software - 2

Ursa Minor SkyTour Planetarium and mount control software

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Ursa Minor SkyTour is the lighter version of Ursa Minor Pro program.

Ursa Minor SkyTour is a planetarium and telescope controller program for portable Sky-Watcher telescope mounts. The program can control the following mounts: Merlin, AutoTrack, SupaTrak, Autotrack dobson. These mounts do not have goto function, but with Ursa Minor SkyTour they can be converted to goto devices. They can be connected to the computer via serial port, USB port or Bluetooth.

Ursa Minor SkyTour is a powerful, accurate but easy to use planetarium program designed for beginners. This program can control Sky-Watcher Autottrack telescopes. If you are not an astronomical expert, or you are a bit confused with different kind of atlases, and navigation on the sky, this program can help you to easily and rapidly locate the popular sights of the sky. For example, if you would like to see the Saturn, after a few mouse clicks your scope will be pointed to the planet. The program will drive your telescope with its built-in electronics and precision motors.

  • The program can display the night sky as can be viewed from the Earth from any position and any time. The map can be easily positioned and zoomed showing fields of view ranging from the entire visible sky down to a detailed "finder chart" for a faint distant galaxy.
  • The program is clearly targeted for beginners using small telescopes with aperture around 9 - 10 centimeters. It has a database containing all stars up to 11.5th magnitude, and the most interesting deepsky objects can be viewed with small telescopes from a suburban area.
  • The "Observing tips" is one of the most useful features for beginners: The program gives you a list of interesting celestial objects, such as galaxies, double stars, variable stars, and others. This list is generated by the current date and time, and capabilities of your telescope.
  • The program can recommend a search route for best-known depth sky objects (star hopping) . This route gives help to locate the object without goto telescope by jumping star by star visually.
  • The program is able to control the small Synta Autotrack telescope mounts. For example, if you would like to look at Saturn with telescope, but it is a bit difficult to get oriented on the sky, the program can point your telescope directly to the object after some mouse clicks.
  • It may occur that the program can not point the telescope exactly to the selected object because the setting of the telescope was not totally accurate. In such situation it may occur that the object is not visible in the fields of the telescope. In this case, you can start the "search object on the spiral line" function, and the program will drive the telescope on a spiral line, and the object will appear soon in the eyepiece's field of view.
  • We can control the telescope with a traditional gamepad.

Te program can control small and portable mounts. These are azimuthal mounts that means the telescope can be rotated around a vertical and a horizontal axis. Before observation, you should adjust the mount to one or two reference points. The program's user manual describes the process of adjustment. These 4 types (and their variants...) are supported: Vixen Merlin, Sky-Watcher AutoTrack, SupaTrak, Sky-Watcher Autotrack dobson.

Warning! The Ursa Minor SkyTour program is designed for beginners; therefore it can control only small and lightweight telescopes, such as Sky-Watcher Autotracking and Multifunctional photo mounts. For advanced telescopes and heavy duty mounts, please choose Ursa Minor Pro.

You can connect these small and portable telescopes to a computer. For doing this, please unplug the original hand controller, and use a special interface cable to make a connection between hand controller socket of the mount and the computer. You cannot use the original hand controller, but you can use an USB port Gamepad for manually move the telescope, and controlling speed of movement. The gamepad also can be usd to control the program itself: With buttons of the gamepad, the displayed star map can be moved and zoomed. After starting Ursa Minor Skytour and establishing a connection, your telescope is ready to make observations. Positioning to an object is as easy as selecting it on sky map, and choosing "Positioning scope" from pop-up menu.

To connect the mount to the computer you have three choices:

  1. Using a serial interface cable: If your computer has free serial (RS-232) port, you can use a RS-232 adapter to connect it to the mount. This adapter can also be used with USB-serial converters.
  2. Using an USB interface cable: The most widely used method is use an USB port. You will need an USB interface cable. It contains the necessary electronics.
  3. Using Bluetooth interface (Controlling the telescope wireless.) : You may use Bluetooth to connect the mount to the computer. Most of the new laptops have Buetooth radio installed. You should use the Ursa Minor Bluetooth adapter to make a wireless connection.

Searching object on a spiral line

Adjusting the mount exactly to the celestial pole is not too simple. When the adjustment is not precise enough, it can occur, that the scope will not point exactly to the selected object. The difference can be as big as one degree. When we use telescope with small field of view (for example Maksutov scope) it can occur, that the target is out of the field of view. In this case the program's "Searching on spiral line" feature can be very useful. By pressing a button, the program will slowly move the scope around a spiral line, and perhaps the desired object will appear soon in the field of view.

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