All the commands can be used from the main menu or the tool-bars.
It is possible to move each button group where you want and select which group to display using the View->Tool-bar option from the main menu. You can hide the main menu to free some space on the screen. Use the Space or Esc key to show the menu again.
Save or reload a chart previously saved to a file.
List of all objects in the active window. You have the option of searching for an object in the list, to sort the objects by Right Ascension, to print the list or to save it to a file. You can create a catalog file for use with "Astrometrica"
The menu "Preference - Object list content" lets you filter
the object type to show in the list:
This menu gets you directly to the Internet resources .
- Images from different catalogs.
NOTE - You have to be connected to the Internet before you can
use this function.
Bulk calculation of asteroid positions for a given date
Azimuth position for the location and the time in the direction of the main chart center. It is possible to change the direction of observation and the limiting magnitude. This chart is automatically updated if the main chart gets changed.
The function projection types allow to use azimuthal projection for the main chart.
Print screen contents to a selected destination. The orientation and the colours can be selected.
It is also possible to type a title and description for the chart, to change the page margin or to not print any legend.
With "Portrait" orientation it is possible to also print the list of the object in the chart to the same sheet of paper. First check with the button to ensure the list is not too long! Use the menu "Preference" to select the object you want.
Printer resolution and printing scale in minutes/cm
It is possible to use the internal viewer or your default
Copy the screen content to the clipboard, to a Windows metafile (.wmf) or to a bitmap file (.bmp, .gf or .jpg). The key "p" activates this function if the menu is disabled.
Immediately refresh the current chart.
To record the animation to an AVI or GIF file, indicate the
file name, the playback frame rate, the file format and check the
"Record" box. Be aware this may create a very large AVI file.
Flip the chart horizontally.
Flip the chart vertically.
Zoom in twice. Same function as + key.
Zoom out twice. Same function as - key.
Undo last zoom.
Select the field of view in degrees.
You can also use a wheelmouse to zoom or the middle button of
a three button mouse + the Ctrl key. These both require a recent
processor (>1000Mhz) to work well.
Change the number of stars or nebulae displayed from the current catalog. The corresponding values are updated to the Star magnitude limit and Nebula size limit parameters for the actual field of view.
Night vision (red screen).
Switch the stars and nebulae drawing mode.
Switch the sky background color between the fixed color (black) and the color representing sky luminosity.
Display the magnitude scale and the legend of all used symbols.
The following information is displayed:
Move the chart
in the corresponding direction. You can also use the keyboard
arrows or press the middle button or wheel of the mouse.
Change the field of view to the indicated value.
Chart rotation +15 degree , +45 degree if you press Ctrl, +1 degree if you press Shift.
Chart rotation -15 degree , -45 degree if you press Ctrl, -1 degree if you press Shift.
Switch equatorial and azimuthal projection.
Show all the visible sky from the current location.
Show the zenith or North, East, South, West horizon.
Find an object.
Find an object by name in the following catalogs: Messier, NGC, IC, GCVS, WDS, Boss GC, GSC, SAO, HD, BD+SD, CD, CPD, HR. NOTE - The corresponding catalog or index must be installed. Or use an active external catalog.
Enter the catalog number in the "Cat Id" field. For the GSC, enter region number and star number separated by space. For BD id's enter sign and declination zone number, a space, then star number ( i.e.: +36 2844 ).
To search an object by another catalog identifier like UGC, MCG, PK, ... use the option SAC for the most luminous or the option NED and SIMBAD to access the full catalog via Internet. Please consult the online documentation for specific naming when using these two options.
To find a variable star you can use a name from GCVS like "Y Cas" or "V1357 Cyg" or a suspected variable number like "NSV 1205" or an extragalactic variable name like "SMC V0220" or "N4486 V0002". You can use upper case or lower case for the name. The only exception is "U Her" and "u Her".
Find the planets, comets and asteroids.
Find by constellation name, star name (common name, Bayer,
It is also possible to search for an Uranometria 2000 chart number.
You can do a quick search without opening the main search
window by using this box:
Quick locate on the constellation chart. Click a position on the chart to locate it. Use the + - button to zoom on this chart.
Locate by entering the coordinates and the orientation.
Catalog selection and their visibility
Setting time and date
Setting the location of the observation
Configure the colors and the appearance of the stars and objects
Labels of the selected objects
- Default choice for the identification function. Short identification (in the status bar) or long in a popup window. The Alt key swaps this behaviour.
When in Short mode a click to the label opens the detail window.
The "Center" button places this object at the center of the chart. The "Neighbor" button shows a list with all the objects in the vicinity.
- Fonts selection. Use the button on the right to change a
- Program language selection.
Save the current configuration for the next session.
Two status line menu: You can use this option to use two lines to display the status information. This permits showing the full information for some objects, but also gives more information about the cursor position.
Moving the cursor:
After you click on two objects this shows the distance between the two objects, the position angle, and the difference in position in right ascension and in declination.
Display the equatorial coordinates grid. Right click on grid icon to change the grid spacing.
Display the azimuthal coordinates grid. (only when displaying azimuthal coordinates)
Display the coordinate grid values.
Show eyepieces or CCD camera field at chart center. It is also possible to place a circle anywhere on the chart using the right mouse button. This figure is also used to show the telescope position.
Click with the right mouse button on this icon to configure the eyepieces :
The selection "Eyepiece" lets you choose the appearance of the circle corresponding to the field of view of your eyepiece. It is possible to draw up to ten different eyepieces. Enter the size of the field of view in minutes of arc and the associate label. If you want to know the field of view of your eyepiece, divide the apparent field of view by the magnification. i.e. an eyepiece with a focal length of 20 mm and an apparent field of view of 40° used on a telescope with a focal length of 2000 mm:
Magnification = 2000 / 20 = 100
Viewing field = 40 / 100 = 0.4°
Viewing field = 0.4 * 60 = 24 minutes
The value of 24 is the answer to the question.
Draw the constellations figures.
Draw the constellations boundaries.
More options available only from the main menu:
- Local Horizon : Plot the local horizon from a file containing azimuth and local horizon altitude.
- Ecliptic line.
- Galactic equator line.
- An option to draw a line to connect the position of the planets, comets, asteroids at different dates.
- Milky Way.
- Uranometria 2000 charts boundaries: Plot the chart of this atlas.
Display an image from the Realsky® or DSS CD's on the current chart. The field of vision must be less than 7 degrees. If configured the plate list will display.
Look at exposure time and margin to help choose the best plate. The margin is positive if the chart is entirely contained in the plate or negative if a truncation occurs at the plate border.
Sky image. It is possible to overlap an image on the corresponding sky chart. To adjust the chart and the image, you need to first identify an object on the chart (left mouse button) and then locate the corresponding position on the image (Ctrl+left mouse button). Repeat the same operation with another object. The right mouse button on this icon presents a menu to remove the image from the chart.
Remove the image from the chart.
Make the image and the chart blink alternately.
The right mouse button lets you change the blinking speed.
Menu Telescope - Select Scope Interface: Select the interface type you want to use. Only correctly installed optional plugin are displayed.
The following models are actually supported:
Plugin Encoder: encoder based on Tangent system, Ouranos, NGC-Max, etc...
Plugin Meade: Meade telescope LX200, ETX, LX90, Magellan or compatible models.
Plugin ASCOM: Any telescope supported by the ASCOM platform including most Celestron models.
interface screen to configure and connect the telescope.
Move the chart
center to the current telescope position.
follow the telescope position.
This button is active only after you select an object on the chart. If you use an LX200, the telescope coordinates are reset to those of the current object. If you use the encoder, the current object is added to the initialisation list, this also works for initial alignment.
This button is active only if your telescope accepts the seek order and if you select an object on the chart. This moves the telescope to the selected object.
The right mouse click offers one more option: "Goto Cursor
Position" which you can use to move the telescope to any location
even if there is no object there.
(*): This functions require a recent processor (>1000Mhz) to work well.
Command line parameters:
Ciel.exe command will accept the following parameters:
It is possible to obtain information about the current chart or to give command to the program using a DDE interface.
Run ciel.exe then insert the following field in a MS Word
The field is replaced by the value from the current chart and
is automaticaly updated as the chart changes.
Use DDE Poke function to send command to the program. Only one
command can be sent at a time.
If you are interested in using this function from a program, I
suggest you download an example with Delphi source code from the