Have you ever tried to use a telescope? It’s easier said than done, and often an art as well as a science. But what if you could use a program that would help you find what you wanted to see without having to set it yourself the old fashioned way. That’s basically what HNSKY does, and it is incredibly powerful software.
You can download the program by clicking the button located at the end of the review.
The Hallo Northern Sky Planetary Program is a Linux or Microsoft Windows-based “semi-professional” free planetarium program that can control your telescope “via the ASCOM or INDI interface.”
Provided completely free of charge and with menu functions translated in 21 major languages, HNSKY is a powerful, almost indispensable piece of software for the budding astronomy enthusiast.
HNSKY maintains a huge database with some 30,000 deep space objects on file and native star databases up to magnitude 18 according to the developer’s website. This database is made up of hundreds of Deep Sky Survey images which help ensure that HNSKY is precise and accurate.
In addition to this, the HNSKY program can access the online Deep Sky Survey which will update the program’s asteroid and comet databases as well as give users access to search functions on professional online astronomy databases. These include the GAIA DR2, UCAC4, NOMAD and PPMXL star catalogs.
Online updating is critical to tracking current positions of comets and asteroids. In addition, the Deep Sky Survey images help ensure the overall accuracy of star positioning. Getting additional DSS images for HNSKY is easy and as simple as selecting the area of the sky you want to update.
In fact, most things can be updated with just the click of a button without any need to go digging through endless menus.
Additionally, users can download the USNO UCAC4 catalog of stars up to a magnitude of 16.
The MS-DOS version of the program runs in both 32-bit and 64-bit modes and is capable of controlling any telescope that uses the ASCOM interface. In addition, HNSKY is fully integrated with EQMOD and MaximDL.
Menus are crisp and clean as well as minimalist to the point of maddening. HNSKY doesn’t really tell you what is where, but it isn’t hard to master all the same.
What it does give you is a lot of powerful tools for conducting surveys of the sky and robust update options.
On that note, it is ideal both for the professional and the layperson as well.
Graphically speaking, it is simple and runs very smoothly but is nonetheless impressive in the sheer volume of information it puts at your fingertips.
We’re talking most of the known sky and almost all of the comets and asteroids ever seen. There’s nothing here you won’t be able to find and, if there is, you’re probably a professional astronomer.
While the program isn’t anything fancy, HNSKY is a very stable, efficient, and easy-to-use way of calibrating your telescope and searching the night sky.