As of version 0.10.4, Stellarium offers two ways to control a computerized telescope or telescope mount:
- the old client-server model: Stellarium acts as a "client" to a small stand-alone program (a "telescope server") that drives the telescope. This method requires editing Stellarium's configuration file and running console applications, so it is not very user-friendly.
- This is the only option (for now) to command a telescope using the Remote Telescope System v.2 protocol on Linux.
- The old built-in client module is not loaded if the Telescope Control plug-in is loaded.
- the Telescope Control plug-in (included since 0.10.3) offers a graphical user interface (a configuration window) and direct telescope connection through a serial port. No stand-alone server is necessary, but one can be used for connecting over a network.
Both options allow Stellarium to connect to third party applications (see below) that use Stellarium's telescope control protocol.
Both options allow Stellarium to control a telescope connected to another computer through a network connection.
Both options allow Stellarium to send only "slew" ("go to") commands and to receive the current position. Stellarium cannot issue any other commands, so users should be aware of the possibility for mount collisions and similar situations.
Both options require that the various necessary preparations (entering geographical coordinates, performing alignment, etc.) are done to the telescope before connecting to Stellarium.
WARNING: Stellarium CANNOT prevent your telescope from being pointed at the Sun.
- Never point your telescope at the Sun without a proper solar filter installed. The powerful light amplified by the telescope WILL cause irreversible damage to your eyes and/or your equipment.
- Even if you don't do it deliberately, a slew during daylight hours may cause your telescope to point at the sun on its way to the given destination, so it is strongly recommended to avoid using the telescope control feature before sunset without appropriate protection.
A list of supported devices can be found here:
Third party applications
These application act as "servers" in the client-server model. They can be used both with the old feature and the Telescope Control plug-in:
- StellariumScope is a program for MS Windows allowing Stellarium to control a variety of telescopes using the ASCOM drivers. It extends the number of devices that can be controlled by Stellarium and adds commands such as "sync" and "stop".
- An instruction on how to use the Telescope Control plug-in and StellariumScope to control a HEQ5/EQ6 type equatorial mount can be found here: HEQ5/EQ6. Written by Karl Van Louwersen.
- StellLXTSRB is a telescope server for Mac OS X, developed by Tony Barry. It has been used successfully with a Meade ETX-80 and an LX-90. According to its author, it will possibly work with any LX-emulating telescope.