Programs I've tried and endorse.......

An excellent program for manipulating astrophotos
A free  demo of a planetarium-skymap program
Weather Bug
A Windows application that resides on your taskbar and displays local weather, alerts, etc.
ARLES Web Image Creator
A very friendly Demo program to quickly convert lots of images to thumbnails and create webpages
K3CCDTools 2 Another excellent program for manipulating astrophotos

NiteView main window


NiteView is a small Visual Basic application which will shift your Windows 95/98 display to dark reds and grays to minimize the light radiated from the display into your observatory. NiteView also will hide your desktop icons and your taskbar.

Using NiteView

Launch NiteView and then move it to a convienient location on your desktop. It should initially position itself near the upper right corner of your display.

Check "Nite Colors" to shift your display to a set of colors very similar to those set by "The Sky" in night vision mode. Uncheck "Nite Colors" to restore your normal desktop colors.

Uncheck "Desktop" to hide your desktop icons.

Uncheck "Toolbar" to hide your toolbar.

Selecting the Help menu option "Restore Default Colors" allows getting back a standard set of colors in case some mishap leaves you with the night vision colors as your default.

NiteView does not "Remain on Top" ... if you want to access it during the night use altTab.

Download NiteView

Click the following link to download NiteView and all VB support files:

[latest revision posted 1900 Feb 6, 2000; (about 1.5 Mbytes)]

If you just need the exe file then here it is: niteview.exe

[latest revision posted 1900 Feb 6, 2000; (about 25 Kbytes)]

Unzip the file and run setup.exe to install NiteView and the neccessary support files.

If you have Visual Basic 6, download the source code and see how it works.:

[latest revision posted 1900 Feb 6, 2000; (about 3800 bytes)]

Polar Finder

An simple application to aid in finding the North Celestial Pole. Jason Dale 2003

Download Polar Finder v2.04 [27.05.03] for Windows HERE

Download Polar Finder v2.03 [12.09.02] for Windows HERE


Computes UT from System time and settings. Copes with Daylight Savings Time. Up to Six Charts for an observing session. Prints clear diagrams. Copy to Clipboard. Save BMP. User Longitude. Auto Updates Live.

PolarFinder PolarFinder

Polar Alignment

In order to make long exposure astromomical images a camera mount able to compensate for the rotation of the Earth about its axis must be employed. This camera mount, be it simple barn-door or expensive Equatorial motor driven device must have its axis of rotation aligned with the Earths axis of rotation, that is, aligned with the North Celestial Pole (NCP).   

Polaris Trails


In the Northern hemisphere, quite by coincidence, we are lucky to have Polaris (the "Pole Star") to guide us to the location of the celestial pole. For many situations, Polaris lies close enough to the true NCP to provide a good feature to align a tracking mount to. However, Polaris lies about a degree from the NCP, and so tracking mounts aligned to Polaris will not be properly aligned with the axis of rotation of the Earth. Aligning to Polaris means that long duration or high magnification exposures will yeild star trails.

More Info

You can find more information about Polar alignment on Carsten Arnholm's astronomy page.