Tonight Sky Help


 Tonight sky is an application that let you  know what Deep Space Objects (DSO's) will transit your meridian at what time and what elevation.

The calculated values are close to be accurate. However, since the premise of this app is to  let the user know what objects are available over a given time span, accuracy of the calculations are not that  important.


  1. New Stuff
  2. Location Data
  3. Alternate Location Edit/Select form
  4. Selection Criteria
        Object Keys
        Other search option
  5. Result section
        Button Description
        Grid definition
        Marking objects
  6. Detail Form 
  7. ASCOM Telescope Interface
        Form description
  8. Reports
  9. Calculator

  10. Direct Go-to

  11. Alignment star list


New Stuff:

Version 1.1.4 (2/17/11) added the following features:

  • Added Check for update button that send you to the web site where you can down load the latest version
  • Added Moon rise, set, phase. Also added twilight times
  • The moon, sun info will be on the report
  • The sun and moon info will change with the requested search start time and NOT the local time as before.
  • You can now look up the information on any object by selecting the object type ( Messier, NGC, IC etc.) and entering the number in the box provided.

Version 1.2.0 (2/26/11)

  • Changed the way data is extracted fro the DB using DEC instead of RA
  • Added Key feature Allowing the user to mark objects with and 5 character alpha numeric code for later retrieval
  • Added sort feature
  • Added observation time
  • Added angular separation between the MOON and selected objects.

Version 1.2.4 (3/4/11)

  • Added Barnard and PK objects to the Database
  • Added detail form

Version 1.3.2 (3/24/11)

  • Put query results in it's own form and shrunk the form height to 600 Pix so it would fit on a 1024x600 format
  • Program will look for updates automatically
  • Added SINBAD interface button to DETAIL screen to allow the user to access information about the selected object from the SINBAD database.

Version 1.3.5 (3/29/11)

  • Added search by object name

Version 1.3.6 (4/12/11)

  • Added menu bars
  • Added observation data and View report

Version 2.1.0 ( 7/1/11)

  • Changed presentation format from multiple forms to single form using tabs to navigate between the sections
  • Modified DB grid to allow the user to ADD/Change or DELETE record from the DB
  • Added ASCOM Telescope control

Version 2.1.1 ( 7/5/11)

  • Added Current location of selected object
  • Cleaned up tools on menu
  • Calculator added in Tool Menu

Version 2.1.4 (7/18/11)

  • Added GMT offset editor to TOOL menu
  • Fixed date prompt to show locale date format


Version 2.1.5 (7/21/11)

  • Changed the way to Identify if ASCOM has been loaded.
  • Now passing object data directly to the ASCOM screen when you change a selection.

Version 2.1.6 (7/22/11)

  • Fixed "Looking North" "looking south" Logic
  • Combined Internet check into TAB form ON LOAD

Version 2.1.7 (8/10/11)

  • Will now change the End Transit date in query window when you change the Start transit time.
  • Click in boxes will now clear KEY box, Minimum MAg. box, Min Elevation, and object ID number box.

Version 2.1.8 (9/14/11)

  • Supports up to 9 additional locations Including the location data extracted from the ASCOM mount.
  • Will read the LAT and LON from the ASCOM mount and place it in the INI file as ALT10

Version 2.1.9 (9/14/11)

  • Fixed error when run on PC without ASCOM loaded.

Version 2.1.10 (9/16/11)

  • Added maximum elevation option for those that have overhead obstacles
  • Added Change notice view to tools


Version 2.1.11 ( 12/15/11

  • Added feature to clear object lookup item when changing type selection
  • Cleaned up date change issues

Version 2.2.0 ( 12/21/11)

  • Major changes were made to the program and Database. The Database will now hold a STAR table containing over 9 thousand named stars and stars from the bright star catalog
  • Additional search options for stars are available including listing all the major stars in a specific constellation.
  • A Database update feature has been added to allow me to make changes such as add / delete tables or add records to a table without destroying changes made to the data be the user.
    When ever a change to the DB is required the user will be notified. The user has the option to do the update or postpone it till later.
    There is also a DB UPDATE function on the menu bar under TOOLS.

Version 2.2.1 ( 12/26/11)

    Added search capabilities by SAO, HD and FK5 id in the star table.

Version 2.2.2 ( 1/11/12)

    Added EPOCH calculation to detail screen.

Version 2.2.3 (5/4/12)

    Added the capability for the ASCOM mount to slew to specific coordinates.

Version 2.2.4 (5/6/12)

    Added the ability to get information on objects that  surround the given coordinates to the GO TO Coordinates form.

    Added option to get surrounding objects from LOCAL DB

    Added option to get image of sky around the coordinates from

Version 2.2.5 (6/7/12)

    Corrected error in routine that  converts Decimal Degreed to the string dd:mm:ss as well as the one converting DD:MM:SS to degrees. the routine was not captureing the negative value for DEC value less the 1.

Version 2.2.6 (6/9/12)

            Corrected bug where CLASS type dropdown box was not populating

Version 2.2.7 (6/9/12)

            Fixed the double loading of Constellation dropdown.

Version 2.2.8 (6/9/16)

            Added AstroArt report output
            Moved reports to own tab

Version 2.2.9 (7/14/12)

            Shrunk main form to fit 800x600 format

Version 2.2.10 (8/14/12)

            Fixed end date format on request form to conform to the locale setting of the system.

Version 2.2.11(8/24/12)

            Added Link To NED web site also moved WIKISky and SIMBAD link to the report menu

Version 2.2.12(10/21/12)

            Made some cosmetic changes to main page.

Version 2.2.14 ( 2/28/13)

            Changed default request start and end time to show Astronomical Twilight  instead of  local sun rise +- 2hours

Version 2.2.15 ( 3/15/13)

            Corrected Observation report format.

Version 2.2.16  (8/1/13)

            Corrected “best viewed time” on result page

Version 2.2.17 (11/1/13)

            Removed the need for wininet.dll. It is causing problems in windows 8.1 . The application will no longer check if an internet connection is available but rather will let the browser inform the user.

Version 2.2.18 (11/7/13)

            Fixed special key search so it recognizes the search  time.
            Added a dropdown list of Key values in DB

Version 2.2.20 (07/24/14)

             Added feature to allow the user to enter the name of an object in the request box without first selecting the type of item (I.e.: NGC ,HD, SH2, etc.). Also when the user presses the ENTER KEY after entering the object name the program will execute the search automatically. No need to click on the GO button. There is also no need to first chose the star table if looking for a star. Simply type the star name (SAO 1234 or HD 1234) and press enter.

             Added the Query string for the search to the message that informs you that the object is not in the DB. In this way you can see what the program was looking for.

Version 2.2.21 (8/14/14)

            Streamlined some of the code

            Added  tool to provide a star list for a 2 star alignment  stars. The list can be saved to a file .

Version 2.2.22 (8/20/14)

            Added sort to Alignment star list display.

            Added interface to ASCOM telescope  so you  can slew to the desired star.

Version 2.2.23 (8/21/14)

            Fixed Minor Bug dealing with Constellation names

Version 2.2.24 (8/27/14)

            Fixed bug when selecting stars for southern hemisphere

Version 2.2.25 (9/9/14)

            Cosmetic changes in the Alignment star form:  Telescope  icon will be disabled if user click on a cell that  does not contain a STAR Name

Version 2.2.26 (9/25/14)

            Repaired a bug in main search if user specifies a name of an object.

            Added a feature to the DETAIL form that  allows you  to see where the object is in the sky given the date and time.

Version 2.2.27 (11/3/2014)

            Added location weather info to main page



(TOP of Page)

Location Data:

The location  Latitude , longitude , Time zone offset and check the Daylight Savings time box if appropriate will be retrieved from the INI file from the  alt0 key.

If this is a new installation or the INI file does not exist the program will load some data into these fields to satisfy some of the logic with in. It is up to the user to change that  data for his/her location. The changes can be made on this screen and pressing the SAVE button or open the location edit tool and make the changes there. If you  use the edit tool you  must double click on the location name to load that  data into the main program.

 The get new version button will only appear if  a new version is on the server. Clicking the button will take you  to  the web site to down load the latest.

Menu bar was added and the HELP and ABOUT buttons were  removed from the form and placed in the menu

A save button has been added to the screen. after you  make changes to the location data on this screen you  must click the save button for it to be stored in the INI file.

If you  are connected to the internet the program will retrieve the weather information for the location specified by the Latitude and longitude. If you  select an alternate location the weather information will also change accordingly.

(TOP of Page)

Selection Criteria:

The next step is entering the time span you are interested in. You  may enter any valid date/time format.

 The program uses the set time as the start of the time span and midnight as the end as a default values.

The Start time is also used to calculate the sun, moon and twilight information which will change when you  alter the start time value. This change was made to  give you  a better idea as to what's going on around the date/time you  plan on doing you  observation. The previous version used the current system time to  calculate those values.

Next make a selection as to  the type of objects your interested in.  Here you have a choice of ALL objects in the DB, Messier, NGC, IC, Caldwell or SH2.
you  may also select a object type from the dropdown list. For instance you  can select  Messier and class Galaxies and you  will get all the messier object that are galaxies which will transit during the time window that  you  specified. If you  are interested in all the Galaxies, click ALL and select galaxies from the list.

New for version 2.2.20:  In this version a feature was added that  allows you  to enter the entire name (NGC 1234 , HD 1234, etc.) into the SELECT OBJECT  BOX  and press the ENTER KEY on the keyboard to have the program do the search.. There is no  need to first select the object type and the type in the number when interested in only one object.


 If you have the star table loaded you  will see some additional choices.
    You can check  the box to  use the STAR TABLE for the lookup. If you check  this box you  will also see a drop-down box appear that  will allow you  to  choose a constellation.
     If you  choose a constellation the search will be limited to those stars that  are in that  constellation.

I would suggest that you  select a minimum Magnitude when requesting ALL or NGC since the result could be quite large.

You  may also filter out from the report objects that  fall below the minimum transit elevation you  specify. Only  objects above the minimum elevation will be pulled fro the DB and displayed. 

If you  are interested in just  one object and wish  to get it's times, you  can select the OBJECT TYPE ( Messier, NGC, IC etc.) and then enter the OBJECT NUMBER in the box provided.
You  may also enter part of an object's name, for instance if you enter AN* you  will get  all the objects who's name starts with AN.
When you  click GO the data will be displayed. This information is also available in the REPORT option.

You  now also have the option of looking for just a single star by selecting either SAO, HA  or FK4  and entering the appropriate number into the box. You  may also search  for a star using its IDENTITY (epsilon, tau, etc.) .
To do so check   IDENTITY  and enter the name or part of the name and select the appropriate constellation, as shown above.

You  may also filter the selection by specifying a star type (i.e.: A0, M2, etc). Te Asterisk can also be used a wild card allowing you  to, for instance select all the type A stars by entering A* on the form.

You can further restrict the search to a specific section of the sky by entering  the RA  & DEC of the center of the circle you  want to search  and giving the radius in Arc Minutes.

Object Keys:

A new feature is marking objects with some key.
When you  get ready  to search for objects previously marked  enter the   KEY in the box provided and click GO or you  may enter the KEY with imbedded asterisks (*). The asterisk is a wild card character  that  will cause the search to  ignore the character that  falls in  the asterisk's position.

 As an example you  may have marked some items with the key ABC111 and others with ABC222.
If you  enter ABC* all records that  have ABC as the first 3 characters will be extracted.
If you  enter *2 all records whose key ends in 2 will be extracted
If you  enter *b*  all the records with  keys  that  have a B the  will be matched.

All the items that  match the entry  will be pulled from the database.

 A new feature has been added that  allows you  to enter a KEY and have those records who's key matches be EXCLUDED from result. This could be useful if you  want to see a list of objects that  have not yet been images. For instance you  could mark all the items you  have images of with the key DONE . By entering DONE in the key and checking the exclusion box, only  the objects that are yet to  be imaged will be displayed.

Other search option:

 Feature added that  allows you  to  make a query using the object name or part of it.  For instance you  can enter CRAB in the box provided and the program will display the information for the CRAB nebula (M1) . If you  enter *star* then the results will be for any object that  has STAR in the name. The asterisk is a wild card character.


    You  now have the ability to sort the result. The default sort is using the RA value sorted in ascending order.
     You  can also sort by:

  • Magnitude
  • Object name
  • Object Class ( Nebula, galaxy etc.)
  • Constellation -  this will group all objects in its constellation
  • Declination angle
  • Object type ( IC, NGC Messier, etc.)

You  can also specify Ascending or Descending sort order.

If you  want to see all  the details of the object you can click the detail button and another form will pop up  that  gives you  all that information ( see sample below)

 The "Go to web " Button will take you  to  the  web site

(TOP of Page)

Result section:


The final section deals with your results. The results will be shown in a separate form. The the information in the database pertaining to your request will be shown in the data grid.

 Object viewing information has been added above the grid. This information pertains to the selected object. The viewing times are calculated 1 Hour after sunset and 1 hour before sunrise for the time the object is above the minimum elevation specified.

New for version 2.2.0 -- The SINBAD button has been moved from the detail form t the main result form.

Below the grid I  have added  the current location ( AZ/EL) of the selected object.

If you  have select to view star data, the above is shows. As you  can see the columns are a bit different and reflect the information pertaining to stars. All the other data on the form is the same as for DSO's.
These are stars in the Orion constellation that  match  certain criteria such  as minimum magnitude, and minimum transit elevation.

Buttons and report options:

  •  Report delimiter:  tells the report generator to use tabs or commas to delimit the various fields
  • EQTOUR report: tells the report generator to  create an EQTOUR output. This will be saved in the EQTOUR install folder with the other .LST files (typically C:\Program Files\EQMOD\EQTOUR). the file name will be formatted as follows: TSky_183_M_EQTour.lst . The numeric number in the file name represents the day of the year and the  letter following is the type of objects (  M - messier, etc)
  • Telescope Icon- invokes the ASCOM interface
  • Wiki Lookup - allow you  to  get  information about the object from the web site . Click HERE for a sample
  • DETAILS -   opens the detail window( described below)
  • Show object button -  Open a web browser window to to  provide a DSS image of the area in the sky matching you  selection.
  • OBS report- provides and observation report as described below
  • REPORT -  generates a general report  of the data selected.


Grid Definitions:

  • NGC -  Number of the object as listed in the .New General Catalogue
  • M -  Number of the  object in the Messier Catalogue
  • Caldwell- number of the object in the Caldwell catalog
  • IC -  number of the object in the Index Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of  Stars
  • SH2 - reference in the Sharpless catalog of Emissions Nebulae
  • PK -  Planetary nebulae objects
  • Barnard -  LDN - Lynds Catalog of Dark Nebulae
  • Name - name of the object
  • class - the type of object ( nebula, galaxy, etc.)
  • RA-  right ascension in hours of the object
  • DEC- Declination of the object
  • Mag- Magnitude of the object
  • Size' -  approximate size of the object in arc minutes
  • DIST. KLY-  approximate distance to that  object in thousands of light-years
  • Const - Abbreviation of the constellation where the object is located. The box at the bottom give the full name.

The calculated values  for each selection in the grid are shown below the data grid.
 Note that  if the Transit elevation is below the one specified the background of that  field will turn RED .

The Angular separation between the moon and the selected object is displayed. This information might be useful if you  plan on bypass imaging objects that  might be too close to  the moon.

You  can use the navigation controls  at the right to move up  and down in the list or you  can select the row in the grid of the object of interest.  You can scroll up  and down the list by using the arrow key on your keyboard.

The columns of the grid are fully adjustable allowing you  to  make them wider or you  can shrink them. you can also alter the height of the rows.

The observation time is now calculated . This is the time that  the object is above the minimum elevation angle. Your actual observation time will vary with what  obstructions are in your field of view. Circumpolar objects are marked as always visible.

Marking Objects:

This section also has the box that  allows you  to  mark an object with a KEY. To do so;

  •  Select the object by clicking on it in the grid or use the navigation arrows to  move to the desired item.
  • Type the key code that  you  want to  assign to that  object into the ITEM KEY box  ( 5 alpha numeric characters maximum length)
  • Unselect the object by moving to  another object in the list

All the screens will be updated automatically  if left open and a new selection is made.

Click the DETAIL button to  get  more information about the object.

You  can  ADD, CHANGE or DELETE items in the Database by simply changing them in the DATA GRID. Once you  move to  another items or close the form the data will be written into the database.
When you  add items be sure that  you  follow the same format for the elements as you  see them in the grid. I've made it a easier to  enter the RA and DE data. For instance, if you  have the RA data in HOURS ( 13.02010) enter that  value into the RA box of the grid for the new item and the program will convert it to HH:MM:SS and populate the matching item in the record. The inverse is also true. enter HH:MM:SS in the RAhms field of the record and the program will  calculate the HOUR value and populate the  RA item. It works the same for the DEC values.

(TOP of Page)

Alternate Location Edit/Select form:

New for version 2.1.8 is the capability for the user to store and retrieve up10 alternated location. The information similar to  that  which is shown on the main page is stored in the INI file for future retreival.

This form is access by clicking on TOOLS and Alternate Location  on the menu bar.


The first entry in the list is your default Home location data. The last entry in the list is the Telescope location data you  saved from the ASCOM. If you don't have an ASCOM mount you  can enter any data you wish  in this location. However, if you  do have an ASCOM mount and click the save location button it will overwrite  what's there.

When entering the UT offset value you  can enter the just number . The program will reformat the data so it can be understood by the main form.

IF you  want to DELETE and entry simply clear out the location name field ( Select the name and press DELETE on your keyboard).

Select a Location:

To select a location, simply, double click on the location name. The program will write the new information into the location fields in the main form and recalculate the times for the new location. After changing the location you will have to requery the data base so the result form shows the proper times.

Detail Form:


 If you  feel that  you want to see the information in another format, this screen displays everything that's on the main page  and in the data grid.

Make your selection of the object on the main page and this form will update automatically.

One field was added called "Time to Meridian". This represents the time you  have from NOW until the object passes thru the the meridian.

IF you  have a star selected, the Star Classification button will appear and allow you  to  access the WIKI web site that describes the various stellar classification
If you are interested in finding the actual RA and DEC of the displayed object in another year simply enter the FROM Epoch ( all the items in the DB are EPOCH 2000)  and the century you  are interested in and click RECALCULATE. The results will be shown. The default values for  the EPOCH are 2000 and the EPOCH NOW which is calculated from the current date and time and expressed in Modified Julian Day.

New version 2.2.26 -- Added the ability to see where an object is given the data and time. Simply put the DATE and TIME in the  REQUEST TIME box and the current Azimuth and Elevation of the object will be displayed . if the Elevation is below the horizon then the back ground of the Elevation box will be red.

Click CLOSE to  hide the form.


The SINBAD data Button to  allow the user to access object data in the SINBAD database. Must  be on line for this to be enabled.

Example of SINBAD  data click here

(TOP of Page)

GMT offset Edit:

 This feature was added in  2.1.4 and allows the user to manage the GMT offset data in the database. The user may add, delete or modify  the GMT data  simply by scrolling down to the desired record and retyping the data or deleting the record. To add a new record go to the bottom of the list and type the information into the blank record.

 Checks are done on the offset value. An offset less than -12 or greater then 12 is not allowed.

You  may also filter the Country names by entering the beginning characters of the name in the text box and clicking GO. To get the entire list again, clear the text box and click GO.

When done just  close the form.

ASCOM Telescope interface:

The telescope interface is designed to allow the user to  select an object from the DB and then SLEW the telescope to it. This interface should be able to  communicate with any ASCOM compliant telescope mount. The software behind this function is modeled after the software that  drives EQTOUR and is used with  permission from Chris Shillito. I also want to  thank him for providing assistance with it.

This feature is invoked by clicking on the  Telescope Icon    on the result page after selecting an object in the data grid.
 Note: this Icon is only  visible if you  have ASCOM installed on your computer.


When you  invoke this function you  will be presented with a screen similar to the image on the left.

From description :

  • >>> button  - expands the form to the width you  see on the right
  • CONNECT button - once you  have selected and ASCOM TELESCOPE Clicking this button will connect the application to  the  telescope driver.
  • TRACKING check box - indicated it the mount is currently in the  tracking mode
  • Object name box - displays the name of the object that  you  selected from the DB. It shows the normal designation ( M102) , its NGC number ( NGC 5886) and descriptive name ( Galaxy in Draco)
  • RA/DEC labels- show you the RA of the object in HOURS and the Declination in Degrees
  • SLEW To OBJECT button -  Once the program is connected to  the mount this button will be come active and allow you  to  command the scope to  slew  to  the object.
  • OBJECT RA/DEC - Show the RA and DEC of the object in DD:MM:SS or HH:MM:SS format
  • GOTO AZ/ALT - shows the current AZ and ALT of  the telescope
  • GOTO RA/DEC - Shows the RA and DEC of the mount as it is slewing to the object . While it is slewing the numbers will be RED and a ABORT SLEW button will be visible as seen in the next image
  • SYNC button - sends a synchronize command to  the driver to  that  can be used to  build the pointing model in the ASCOM driver.
  • OBJECT IS BELOW THE HORIZON! label  ( right screen) - if you  select an object and ask the program to  SLEW to it and that  object is currently below the horizon this label will BLINK on and off. To STOP the blinking just  CLICK on the blinking label.
  • CHOOSE SCOPE (right screen) allows you  to  select the ASCOM scope you  want to  control
  • DISCONNECT button -  This button changes from Connect  ( if you  not already connected) to Connecting then to  Disconnect  once you are connected to  the scope.
  • MESSAGE CENTER - give you  an idea what  is going on with the program.


  A " Save Telescope Location Data" button has been added that  will be active when connected to  and ASCOM mount. Clicking this button will read the Latitude and Longitude from the mount and store it in the INI file. This can be helpful if you  are at a site other than you  home base and want to quickly load the present location data into the main form.


(TOP of Page)


If you  desire a printable list of the results you  can click on the BUILD REPORT button and that  data will be written into  a .TXT file in the folder "My Documents".
Then report file path will be displayed in the list , Clicking on the report name will open the report for you to view..

The file name is constructed as follows:
     TonightSkyddd-ttt.txt  Where ddd= the day of the year, ttt= type ( m,ngc,ic,etc) . When you  run the report it will over write the file if it already exists.

For those of you  that use the EQMOD package to  control you  mount you  can get  the list  printed in the EQTOUR format which  can be imported directly into EQTour. The file will be named Tsky_ddd-ttt.lst (Where ddd= the day of the year, ttt= type ( m,ngc,ic,etc) .)

This version will place the .LST file in the EQTOUR folder if It exists otherwise it will be placed in the "My Documents" folder.

An observation report is now available that tells you  how long the object will be visible for viewing or imaging. You get the total time that  the object is above the minimum elevation angle specified. It also tells you  how long it will be east and west of the meridian to help you  plan your session.

The normal and observation  report will now have the LOCATION NAME  in the header just  be fore the Latitude values

Normal report:

The following is a sample of the normal report output:

 Viewing Tonight Sky

2/27/2011 1:19:25 PM

Time window 2/27/2011 17:45 to 2/28/2011 00:00:01 for Location Home_location 40:50:25 N Latitude 74:54:52 W Longitude.
Sun rise: 06:36:59 Sun set: 17:48:26 Moon Rise: 03:27:48 Moon set: 12:59:34 Third Quarter
Minimum Elevation: 0

IC (Nebula) Objects
IC    NGC Rise TM    Rise AZ      Tansit TM  TansitEL  Set TM    Set AZ         RA    dec      Size Mag Obs. Time Lunar Sep. Name
5384 7813 08:16:50 105° 42' 20" 13:34:17 37° 10' 29"  18:56:44 254° 51' 44" 00:03:11 -11:59:04 ---- 14.2 10:35:00 74° 06' Galaxy in Cet
5386 7832 07:51:00  94° 42' 29" 13:37:41 45° 26' 35"  19:29:22 265° 51' 50" 00:06:35 -03:42:57 ---- 13.2 11:30:00 77° 48' Galaxy in Psc
1530 7831 05:23:39  44° 09' 26" 13:38:23 81° 46' 03"  21:58:07 316° 25' 15" 00:07:18 +32:36:34 ---- 13.0 16:25:00 92° 33' Galaxy in And
1539   70 05:49:07  48° 08' 40" 13:49:29 79° 14' 16"  21:54:52 312° 26' 46" 00:18:24 +30:04:46 ---- 13.7 15:55:00 93° 42' Galaxy in And
26    135 08:50:25 107° 32' 23" 14:02:53 35° 49' 17"  19:20:22 253° 03' 23" 00:31:48 -13:20:16 ---- 15.1 10:20:00 80° 12' Galaxy in Cet
39    178 09:00:49 108° 40' 06" 14:10:11 34° 59' 12"  19:24:33 251° 55' 53" 00:39:06 -14:10:21 ---- 12.4 10:15:00 81° 34' Galaxy in Cet
44    223 08:11:23  88° 41' 54" 14:13:48 50° 00' 17"  20:21:13 271° 54' 44" 00:42:42 +00:50:44 ---- 13.4 12:00:00 87° 52' Galaxy in Cet
1591  276 09:47:42 120° 23' 07" 14:23:12 26° 28' 45"  19:03:42 240° 13' 49" 00:52:05 -22:40:48 ---- 15.1 09:09:59 81° 30' Galaxy in Cet
1613 ---- 08:29:05  87° 01' 32" 14:35:54 51° 16' 33"  20:47:43 273° 36' 18" 01:04:48 +02:07:00 12 09.0 12:10:00 93° 28' Galaxy in Cet
89    446 08:31:38  84° 08' 50" 14:46:00 53° 27' 11"  21:05:22 276° 29' 34" 01:14:53 +04:17:38 ---- 12.8 12:25:00 96° 36' Galaxy in Psc


Note: Object size is given in Arc Minutes
Objects with rise and set time of 00:00:00 are circumpolar objects and are always visible.
Lunar separation is the angle between the moon and the object.

EQTour output format:

The format for the EQTour is as follows and conforms to the new format which includes the magnitude of the object:

15.10833333;55.7630555555556;Dragon;10;M102 - NGC 5866, (Galaxy in Draco )
15.31;2.08277777777778;Serpent Head;5.8;M5 - NGC 5904, (Globular star cluster in Serpens )
16.28333333;-22.975;Scorpion;7.2;M80 - NGC 6093, (Globular star cluster in Scorpius )
16.39333333;-26.5252777777778;Scorpion;5.9;M4 - NGC 6121, (Globular star cluster in Scorpius )
16.54166667;-13.0527777777778;Serpent Bearer;8.1;M107 - NGC 6171, (Globular star cluster in Ophiuchus )
16.695;36.46;Hercules;5.9;M13 - NGC 6205, (Hercules Globular Cluster )
16.78666667;-1.94777777777778;Serpent Bearer;6.6;M12 - NGC 6218, (Globular star cluster in Ophiuchus )
16.95166667;-4.09944444444444;Serpent Bearer;6.6;M10 - NGC 6254, (Globular star cluster in Ophiuchus )
17.02;-30.1122222222222;Serpent Bearer;6.6;M62 - NGC 6266, (Globular star cluster in Ophiuchus)
17.04333333;-26.2680555555556;Serpent Bearer;7.2;M19 - NGC 6273, (Globular star cluster in Ophiuchus )
17.285;43.1363888888889;Hercules;6.5;M92 - NGC 6341, (Globular star cluster in Hercules )
17.32;-18.5163888888889;Serpent Bearer;7.9;M9 - NGC 6333, (Globular star cluster in Ophiuchus )
17.62666667;-3.24611111111111;Serpent Bearer;7.6;M14 - NGC 6402, (Globular star cluster in Ophiuchus )


Observation Report format:

 Observation Report

4/11/2011 10:57:44 AM

Time window 4/11/2011 19:33 to 4/11/2011 23:59 for Location Home_Location 40:50:25 N Latitude 74:54:52 W Longitude.
Sunrise: 06:26:08 Sun set: 19:35:36 Moon Rise: 13:21:51 Moon set: 02:52:38 First Quarter
Minimum Elevation: 0
Viewing time is based on 1 hour after sunset to 1 hour before sunrise where the object is above the minimum requested elevation

Messier Objects
M NGC Transit TM Transit EL Obs.Time Start End Before T. After T. Mag Lunar Sep. Name
48 2548 19:54:08 43° 21' 31" 04:54:59 20:39:41 01:34:41 00:00:00 04:54:59 05.8 21° 35' Open star cluster in Hydra
44 2632 20:20:25 69° 08' 29" 06:59:59 20:37:27 03:37:27 00:00:00 06:59:59 03.1 5° 17' Beehive Cluster
67 2682 20:30:44 60° 58' 14" 06:34:59 20:39:33 03:14:33 00:00:00 06:34:59 06.9 3° 38' Open star cluster in Cancer
81 3031 21:35:56 61° 46' 30" 20:39:33 20:39:33 00:00:00 00:56:22 00:00:00 06.9 55° 37' Galaxy in Ursa Major
82 3034 21:36:08 61° 09' 25" 20:39:33 20:39:33 00:00:00 00:56:34 00:00:00 08.4 56° 12' Cigar Galaxy
95 3351 22:24:20 60° 51' 45" 08:29:59 20:38:33 05:08:33 01:45:46 06:44:13 09.7 30° 00' Bared Galaxy in Leo
96 3368 22:27:08 60° 58' 57" 08:34:59 20:35:55 05:10:55 01:51:12 06:43:47 09.2 30° 40' Galaxy in Leo
105 3379 22:28:08 61° 44' 25" 08:34:59 20:39:07 05:14:07 01:49:00 06:45:59 09.3 30° 47' Galaxy in Leo
108 3556 22:51:50 75° 10' 00" 20:39:07 20:39:07 00:00:00 02:12:42 00:00:00 10.1 50° 04' Galaxy in Ursa Major
97 3587 22:55:08 75° 49' 17" 20:39:07 20:39:07 00:00:00 02:16:00 00:00:00 11.2 50° 01' Owl Planetary nebula
65 3623 22:59:14 62° 15' 10" 09:09:59 20:38:18 05:48:18 02:20:55 06:49:04 09.3 38° 15' Galaxy in Leo Triplett
66 3627 23:00:32 62° 09' 01" 09:09:59 20:39:59 05:49:59 02:20:32 06:49:27 09.0 38° 34' Galaxy in Leo Triplett
109 3992 23:37:56 77° 27' 56" 20:39:59 20:39:59 00:00:00 02:57:56 00:00:00 09.8 54° 26' Galaxy in Ursa Major
98 4192 23:54:08 64° 03' 33" 20:36:23 20:36:23 00:00:00 03:17:44 00:00:00 10.1 51° 15' Galaxy in Coma Berenices
99 4254 23:59:08 63° 34' 34" 20:38:13 20:38:13 00:00:00 03:20:54 00:00:00 09.8 52° 30' Galaxy in Coma Berenices
106 4258 23:59:20 83° 32' 09" 20:36:43 20:36:43 00:00:00 03:22:36 00:00:00 08.3 55° 23' Galaxy in Canes Venatici

Note: Object size is given in Arc Minutes
Objects with rise and set time of 00:00:00 are circumpolar objects and are always visible.
Lunar separation is the angle between the moon and the object.


ASTROART Report Format:

The Astroart format is rather simple. The name the RA  and the DEC are given. Each report is limited to 30 entries . IF the query result is greater than 30 separate files will be generated with  the Page number in the file name.

Columns 1 – 13 Name with no blanks
Columns 14 -23 RA in the format 00 00 00.0 (col 14-15 deg, 17-18 min, 20-23 sec and decimal seconds)
Columns 27- 37 DEC in the format +00 00 00.0 (same as above)

IC1026       14 30 12.0   +31 12 54.0
NGC5644      14 30 24.0   +11 55 41.0
NGC5667      14 30 24.0   +59 28 11.0
NGC5656      14 30 24.0   +35 19 15.0
NGC5648      14 30 36.0   +14 01 22.0
NGC5649      14 30 36.0   +14 01 22.0
NGC5647      14 30 36.0   +11 52 35.0
NGC5657      14 30 42.0   +29 10 50.0
NGC5645      14 30 42.0   +07 16 28.0
NGC5650      14 30 48.0   +05 58 41.0
NGC5652      14 30 54.0   +05 58 41.0
NGC5655      14 31 00.0   +13 58 08.0
NGC5659      14 31 06.0   +25 21 19.0
NGC5651      14 31 18.0   -00 19 02.0
NGC5673      14 31 30.0   +49 57 30.0
NGC5661      14 31 54.0   +06 15 01.0
NGC5678      14 32 06.0   +57 55 16.0
NGC5658      14 32 24.0   -00 22 00.0
NGC5665      14 32 24.0   +08 04 45.0

This report shows you  the total observation time for that  object and the time ( hours, minutes, seconds)  Before Transit and After transit . These times are based on one hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise where the object is above the minimum Elevation specified.



The calculator was added to allow you  to convert Degrees to Hours and visa-versa.

Simply enter the value in the box in the format shown above the box and click DO IT. The remaining boxes will be populated with the result.

The second part allows you  to  convert  Parsec to Light Years and visa-versa.

The third part of the calculator will calculate the  magnitude of an object given the magnitude and ADU of a reference star as well as the ADU of the object in question

Provide the data in the brown boxes , Click Calc. Mag and the result will be shown in the green box.


To exit the program click the EXIT  button.

If you  have further questions or problems  contact me at

hope this provides some useful information

CLICK HERE to DOWNLOAD the latest version.


  In version 2.2.3 I have added the capability to tell the mount to slew to a specific RA and DEC location.

  This feature is available on the TOOL menu  of the main window.

  Clicking on the menu item will open a window that  allows you  to  enter the RA and DEC coordinates  that  you  want the ASCOM mount to  slew to.

The RA values can be entered as a string ( hh:mm:ss) or or hour  decimal value ( hh.hhhhh)

Likewise the DEC value can be entered as a string (dd:mm:ss) or  degree decimal value (ddd.ddddd)
The decimal values will be displayed below the box once you  move off the box.


  Clicking on the GOT OBJECT button will send you  to the ASCOM screen ( see ASCOM Telescope Interface above) where you  can connect to  the mount and request it to make the slew.

If ASCOM is not loaded on your system you  will be notified as such and the button will be disabled.

Version 2.2.4 adds the ability to get information about surrounding objects. Simply enter the coordinates in the upper half  of the form, enter  the radius that you  are interested in (in arc minutes) and click on the SIMBAD button.

You will be presented with a browser view of the data.

If the Internet is not available the SIMBAD button will not be enabled.

You  can also request to view the sky at those coordinates. By clicking the button you  will open a web page directed to displaying the images of the sky.


Alignment  Star List:

            Version 2.2.21 added  a tool that  will provide you  with a list of Alignment star pairs for two star alignment which can be used with the  Synscan Hand Controller. I was made aware of the Idea y John Dwyer of the EQ6 yahoo group who developed it using EXCEL spread sheet. I took that  concept and applied it  to the TonightSky  application.


The program uses the Star data base and extracts the stars who's magnitude is brighter than that  given on the page. The default is MAG 2.


To access the tool, on the menu bar click on TOOLS> Alignment Stars . The page below will be displayed




Then picture above shows the interface. The location information is read from the  main page of the TonightSky app. as well as the Date and time and minimum elevation angle

to generate the list click the GO button.


The ratings listed in the display refer to:

Rating 1 refers  the  Elevation difference between star1 and star2:

            A = Delta < 24 and  > 16

            B = Delta <27 and > 13

            C = other values


Rating 2 refers to the Azimuth difference between star 1 and star 2:
            A = Delta <101 and > 79

            B = Delta <116 and >65

            C =  other values


The ideal azimuth delta is 90 degrees.


To see the RA, DEC and Mag of a star click on the star name and a popup box will display that  information as pictured above.


 If you  want to save the data to a file simply CHECK the box  " Output list into file" . To open the open the file click on the file name above  the GO button.


Synta Alignment Star Recommendations: ALT-AZ 2-Star Alignment:

1. Altitude of stars should be between 15 and 60 degrees.

2. Deviation of altitude between the two stars should be between 10 and 30 degrees.

3. Deviation of azimuth between the two stars should be between 45 and 135 degrees, with the optimum being 90 degrees.







If you  select the option to have the data stored in file it will be in your "MY  DOCUMENTS" folder.

Here is an example of that file:


                    2 Star Alignment Star List

                    08/15/2014 3:34:15 PM


For: 08/15/2014 21:40:58 at Location Home Location 40:50:25 N Latitude  74:54:52.75 W Longitude.

 Minimum Elevation: 0 Minimum Magnitude:  2


STAR1        Mag1       AZ     Alt   Dir1   STAR2       Mag2     AZ        Alt Dir2  AZ Diff   ELEV Diff    Rating1   Rating2


Alioth        1.77    315.90   37.35   W   Antares       0.96    205.65   18.10   W  110         19        A           B


Alkaid        1.86    304.36   43.01   W   Antares       0.96    205.65   18.10   W  99         25        B           A


Altair        0.77    141.10   52.09   E   Arcturus     -0.04    266.33   34.30   W  125         18        A           C


Antares       0.96    205.65   18.10   W   Alioth        1.77    315.90   37.35   W  110         19        A           B

Antares       0.96    205.65   18.10   W   Alkaid        1.86    304.36   43.01   W  99         25        B           A

Antares       0.96    205.65   18.10   W   Arcturus     -0.04    266.33   34.30   W  61         16        A           C

Antares       0.96    205.65   18.10   W   Benetnasch    1.86    304.36   43.01   W  99         25        B           A


Arcturus     -0.04    266.33   34.30   W   Altair        0.77    141.10   52.09   E  125         18        A           C

Arcturus     -0.04    266.33   34.30   W   Antares       0.96    205.65   18.10   W  61         16        A           C


Benetnasch    1.86    304.36   43.01   W   Antares       0.96    205.65   18.10   W  99         25        B           A



Version 2.2.22 added  the capability to sort the display. Simply select a column to sort on and click on the sort option in the option box.



This version also added the ability to connect to an ASCOM scope.

 If ASCOM is laded on your system the Telescope  icon will be displayed  on the page when you  click on a star name.

Clicking on the icon will open the ASCOM interface window  where you  can chose the scope to connect to and make the connection ( see ASCOM Telescope interface section above)