I use a mix of software that is commercially purchased or subscribed, or is commonly categorized as freeware. There are alternatives to any piece of software listed here, but more importantly, there are fee alternatives to most of the software that I pay for.


  • Stellarium (free) is not designed as a planning platform, I find that its visualization capabilities, which let me see any sky at any date and time, are well suited to this purpose. There is some learning curve, but it is not overwhelming. The effort that it takes to learn this software is worth it just for the beautiful renderings alone.


  • ASCOM (free)
  • PoleMaster (purchased)
  • Gemini II (free)
  • PHD2 (free)
  • ASTAP (free)


I use three capture softwares: Backyard EOS for DSLR imaging, NINA for DSO imaging, and FireCapture for planetary imaging.

  • Backyard EOS (purchased)
  • NINA (free)
  • FireCapture (free)


  • PIPP (free)
  • Autostakkert! (free)
  • Registax (free)
  • WinJupOs (free)
  • Topaz DeNoise AI (purchased)
  • Photoshop (subscribed)
  • PixInsight (purchased)


  • Flickr (free or subscribe) is my sharing platform. Although it is not software per se, it seems to fit just fine on this page. Free accounts permit up to 1,000 images to be stored. For a small fee, an unlimited number of images can be stored. I chose Flickr over a purpose-built site like AstroBin, because I preferred a more free form posing of my images.

The Astronomical Musings of Jim Johnson