Astro Helper Product Overview


This program was originally intended for my own use as an amateur astronomer. I use an 8" reflector with a Dobsonian mount. If you also have a Dobsonian mounted telescope, you might also find the program a very useful tool to find deep sky objects (DSO). If your telescope is mounted in another way, you may find this tool less useful or completely useless.


System Requirements:

This program was designed with and only tested using Windows 98. A Pentium processor will provide the minimum processing power for a useful level of performance. The program also requires 16 MB of RAM, 10 MB of hard dive storage, and a resolution of at least 800 X 600. Future versions may require more RAM. For fast response I suggest a minimum of a Pentium III 500MHz and 64 MB of RAM. Although I have only tested this program on Windows 98. It should run on any Windows platform.


What the program does:

Astro Helper will tell you the angle of elevation above the horizon (altitude) and the direction in degrees from North (Azimuth) of the selected objects. It will simultaneously display the coordinates of 22 objects from a database of over 22,000 objects. With these coordinates you can point your Dobsonian mounted telescope or other "Alt/Az" mounted scope. If you have an equatorial mounted scope these values will not help you at all, sorry. To provide support for many situations you can:

  • Select from various observing locations.
  • Select a different date and time or run in real time.
  • Select objects of interest from several major DSO catalogs.
  • For times when you can't take your computer out with you, you can print out a list of objects locations over time.
  • Specify your horizons so objects do not register is being visible when they are behind the trees or your neighbor's house.

    What you need to do to your Dobsonian telescope to benefit from this program:

    If your telescope has "setting circles", then you are ready to go. If you don't, these two suggestion will get you set up for very little money. You need to:
  • Install a way to determine the Altitude your Telescope is pointing. I spent $15.00 at Sears for a carpenter's compass.
  • Install a way to determine the direction your telescope is pointing. I printed out a big circle with software found at Star Trak Software.
  • Click here to see what my scope looks like.