PROS / This application includes T-Point and is compatible with all operating systems.
CONS / It lacks exoplanets and site newsletter.
VERDICT / TheSkyX offers great telescopic control and a huge star library.
For 25 years, TheSkyX Serious has been a popular tool for at-home astronomers. TheSkyX Serious Astronomer Edition by Software Bisque Inc. is their current mid-level astronomy software package and it hits all the marks. From a huge multimillion star library (with stars labeled with their phonetic pronunciation) to printable star charts (to share with family and friends) and the popular telescope control system TPoint, TheSkyX Serious is a high-quality stargazing experience and we're excited it received the TopTenREVIEWS Silver Award in our astronomy software review.
TheSkyX Serious is a comprehensive and full-featured tool that helps you get the most out of your astronomy pursuits. In addition to learning everything you could imagine about countless constellations and deep sky objects, TheSkyX Serious astronomy software gives you the ability to time travel. Astronomers can calculate exactly where the stars were thousands of years ago, and they can calculate where they’ll be thousands of years from now. Watch planetary motion over days and even centuries with TheSkyX Serious.
Planning your stargazing activities are blissfully easy with TheSkyX Serious. To make the most of out your time, a solid observing list is a must. Advanced searches/database queries of celestial objects (and the where/when of their viewing details) can be accessed in the Tools menu under the Create Observing List command. Here you can generate your customized observing list. Your observation list will also be inputted automatically into the user toolbar located to the left of the screen, which is a handy function to have when using astronomy software.
One feature of TheSkyX Serious that makes it superior to other astronomy software packages is its fully integrated telescope controls. TheSkyX Serious was one of the first astronomy software package’s to offer such powerful controls, and they continue the tradition of providing their users with high-quality telescopic controls to this day. Link and synchronize your telescope and slew to a specific coordinate. Telescopes with Go To Control and Optical Encoders (Push To) will also work with TheSkyX Serious, and a telescope simulator is even available. A TPoint add-on is available as well, with a complete TPoint User Guide available in the Help menu.
We also love that TheSkyX Serious astronomy software has always offered the full breadth of their software in both Windows and native Mac OS X versions.
TheSkyX Serious astronomy software has abundant features (and many extras) that are sure to enhance your stargazing experience. An interactive star chart is the focal point of TheSkyX Serious. Input any date from 4,712 B.C. to A.D. 10,000, and any time of day. To show the simulated star chart for your location, change the direction of your view by clicking on one of the North, South, East, or West buttons (on the toolbar at the top of the screen). And the Field of View is highly customizable. You can change the magnification to show any field of view, from 235° to as small as 30 arc seconds. As for the Field of Use Indicators, you can choose the equipment you’re using from a database of hundreds of telescopes, eyepieces and cameras, or you can define your own. An overlay on the Sky Chart can then be shown.
If viewing the universe in 3D is something you like in your astronomy software, TheSkyX Serious meets your need for 3D and then some. View the solar system in three dimensions using the 3D solar system viewer (found under the Tools menu). You can zoom, pan and scroll your way through the universe to learn about the positions of all the various stars in the Milky Way. You can also fine-tune your experience and focus on a singular constellation, viewing only the stars within a certain constellation’s boundaries.
TheSkyX Serious’ What’s Up Tonight? function automatically generates an observation list depending on your evening’s location and weather. Specify the viewing time, your optical aid (naked eye, binocular, or small telescope), and which objects you're interested in seeing, and the TheSkyX's What's Up Tonight? will generate an observing list, complete with detailed descriptions about many deep-space objects, photographs, as well as Hertzsprung-Russell diagrams for stars. The star chart even updates itself throughout your observing session to ensure it’s showing you exactly where to look for an object.
Another cool feature of TheSkyX Serious astronomy software is the Iridium Flares function. Iridium Flares, which are visible satellite flares/flashes seen from Earth, originate from iridium satellites (communication satellites that have a peculiar shape with three polished door-sized antennas). These flashes range up to -8 magnitude. Live satellite data is uploaded directly to your computer, showing you the latest iridium flares in your area. You can also predict/watch simulated versions directly on TheSkyX Serious.
Software Bisque, the makers of TheSkyX Serious astronomy software package, has included a comprehensive support forum on their site, which is an excellent place to find answers to your software questions, fast. Pre-sale questions can also be answered here. In addition, Software Bisque also has a Facebook page.
Ease of Use
The ease of use of TheSkyX Serious is that of any high-quality educational-centric software. Installing the software is fast and simple, and the product is user friendly and easy to navigate for beginners to experienced computer users alike. Nice touches included in this application are a bank of easily accessible navigation buttons located at the top of the screen. A detailed, customizable left toolbar with all the most frequently-used functions laid neatly out in a tab format - Observing List, Telescope, Tours, Chart Elements, Photos and Find will help you immerse yourself in the far galaxies in no time at all.
Help & Support
Customer Service at Software Bisque is comprehensive. A toll-free number is listed on their site (as well as an international number, and fax). Email support is also available. If you have any pre-sale, order-related, or other non-technical support questions, you can post them in their Pre-Sales Questions, Comments, Suggestions and Feedback Forum. Registered users of the site can send private emails to any Software Bisque employee; a customer service option that can’t be beat.
And their support forums area is impressive. TheSkyX Serious astronomy software forum has dozens of user-generated questions and answers. Knowledge-based articles are also on the site. And don’t forget the official user guide, which can be found within the program. It is a vast PDF file (300 pages) and covers every aspect. The Customizing Chart Elements chapter for example has over 30 subchapters, giving details on even the most obscure non-stellar object.
Whether you prefer receiving the box or are satisfied with a quick download, TheSkyX Serious can be delivered to you in however you like. Receiving the box + download is also an option.
There’s a reason Software Bisque Inc. has been developing TheSkyX Serious astronomy package for over 25 years. From its comprehensive features like its powerful planning session tool, What’s Up Tonight?, to printable star charts and predicting iridium flares, TheSkyX Serious Astronomer Edition is one of the best astronomy software packages on the market, and we’re pleased to include in it our astronomy software review.