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Tool box

The Tool box contain functions for specific task you can select depending on your needs. You can also add a new function by using the script editor.

There is up to eight tool box you access from the main menu View → Tool box, or using the keyboard shortcut F1 to F8. Press the same key again to hide the left panel.

The Tool box are show vertically on the left of the screen, this let enough space for the chart itself with most of the wide screen display. The Tool box width can be adjusted with the mouse, and if your screen is too small a scroll bar can be used.

Each Tool box contain three part:
- Up to two button bar where you can add the same button as in the tool bar.
- The main area with specific button and text box.
- At the bottom, two buttons allow to select or edit the scripts.

Open the menu Setup→Manage toolbox or click the Manage toolbox button.

Click on the Script column to select the tool you want for the corresponding F key.
Right click on a row to open a menu that allow to open a script at another location or to remove a script assignment.

You can use the tool box and script editor to create your own script or to make a modification to one of the tool.

Standard tools

Observer tools

This panel contain convenient functions when you use the program connected to a goto telescope.

It contain the telescope control function, including a virtual handpad.
To use the handpad select first if the direction button need to be swapped and select the speed (in degree/second) from the list. Then click one of the direction button to start the move, and click the Stop button to stop.

You can navigate your observing list or search for an object name.

Each time an object is selected the “Target” coordinates on the top are updated and ready to use with the telescope buttons.

The Information box give the detailed information about the object without the need to open a separate window.

Solar System

This panel group the information about the Solar System objects.

The tool bar contain the related buttons so you not need to add them to the main screen.

You can select a planet, comet or asteroid from the specific box.

For the comet and asteroid you can filter the list using your criteria.
Click on a row and the Center button to center the object on the map.
You can also select some objects in the list and click the Mark button to draw a circle on the map at the object location, independently of the object visibility .

The Information box give the detailed information about the object without the need to open a separate window.

Location / Time

This panel contain the tools to quickly change the date and the observer location.

The tool bar contain the related buttons so you not need to add them to the main screen.

The first group allow to change the date and time. Use the negative sign format for BC years.

The next group contain the information about the current location.
A drop down list allow to quickly change for an UTC time zone.

Then your favorite location are listed for selection.
You can also load an other list from a file.
A few interesting antic location are added at the bottom of the list to serve as an example for the file format.

The Information box give the detailed information about the selected object without the need to open a separate window.

PHD Guiding

This panel contain the tools to interface with PHD2 Guiding.

The interface let you easily use the ““lock shift” function to keep your telescope pointed on a moving object while guiding on a star.

You can also activate the “dithering” function to apply a random offset to your guide position.

Connection to PHD

Start PHD2 and check that Tools / Enable server is checked.

In Skychart you can change the host on which PHD is running and the connexion port. If Skychart and PHD run on the same computer you can just keep the default values.

Click the “Connect” button. The status must change to “Connected” and indicate the current state of PHD.

Initialize PHD as usual and start guiding. The state must change to “Guiding”.

Use the Lock shift function

This function allow you to keep your telescope pointed on a moving object while guiding on a star.

Click on a moving object in the map, for example an asteroid or comet. The object displacement in arcsec/hour is show.

To send this displacement rate to PHD click the “Set rate” button. The current PHD lock shift status is displayed to confirm the change.

To start the shifted guiding on the moving object click the “Off” button. The button text change to “On” and the PHD status change to “True”.

Use the Dithering function

The dithering function let you apply a random offset to the guiding position to avoid to cumulate the sensor defects at the same position on every exposure.

The function is disabled by default because this is normally done by the capture software between the exposure. The use of this function from Skychart is only interesting if you take your pictures with a standalone camera or with a software that not support dithering.

To activate the function, open the script configuration with the “Script” button.

Select the row “Event_0:0:Initialisation” and click the “Edit script” button.

At the top of the script comment out the line that hide the dithering box. Just add // at the beginning of the line.

Save the modified script and click the Apply button. Save the Skychart configuration for a permanent change.

To apply an offset set the required parameters value and click the Dither button. Be sure you click this button only between exposure when the camera shutter is closed!

Add other functions interface

You can use the provided scripts as an example to interface with other function provided by PHD2.

The PHD wiki give all the necessary informations about this functions.


This panel help you print a planisphere with a rotating transparent overlay.

Before you start you can set the chart options you want, the observatory location (within latitude limit), the color (black on white is suggested), the objects, the labels (“orient to the pole” for better readability in any orientation).

Make the background chart

When ready press the “Set chart” button.

Make the rotating disk

Without changing anything press the “Set overlay” button.


Use the “Print to bitmap” function to save a large image file for both part. In Printer Setup, select “Bitmap file”, set width and height to a comfortable value depending on the size you want to print (something between 2000×2000 to 5000×5000 is a good starting point). When asked give a file name for each part.

If required you can use an image editor to make some adjustment or additions.

You can now print the background chart on paper or cardboard, and the rotating overlay on printable transparency film.

Finally cut the transparency, and perforate both at the marked pole location to mount with a small screw.

en/documentation/toolbox.txt · Last modified: 2017/01/24 18:41 by pch