CCDNavigator3 is a powerful visual tool that helps you select interesting targets, automatically position them for any guiding method and creates an optimal single or multi-target session plan for DSLR or CCD cameras. It's highly visual approach and graphical displays for session planning will take you to new frontiers in imaging!


  • Release 3.1.18 provides a valuable new feature that allows you to only be presented with targets that can be imaged in either LRGB or NB even during nights with Moonlight! It now calculates the minimum angular separation of targets from the Moon which, based on the brightness of the Moon, will have minimal contamination by the Moon. This feature is now part of the “Criteriaâ€� menu.

  • Release 3.1.6 provides Adam Block's gorgeous thumbnails, about 300 of them, in the colorful Advanced Imager Catalog. You'll enjoy picking from these beautiful targets. In addition, four new catalogs have been added to the Deep Sky Explorer catalogs. These include the Herbig-Haro catalog of planetary nebula surrounding newly minted stars and the Rodgers-Campbell-Whiteoak catalog of Southern Hemisphere Ha emission nebula. Two new catalogs aimed at those with scientific imaging in mind have been added, a catalog of Eclipsing Binary Stars and another of Cataclysmic Variables. AAVSO observers: take note!

  • Beginning with Release 3.1.0, CCDNavigator supports ACP Expert. By simply clicking a target in the CCDNavigator “Candidates” window, the user can quickly and easily set it up for guiding, fully specify their total imaging goals for that target and generate a request to their ACP Expert system. As ACP Expert acquires the images, a CCDNavigator user can easily track the results.

  • Dramatically improved workflow with Candidates, Favorites and Session windows open all the time.

  • Fill your monitor with images by re-sizing the new Candidates display using small, medium or large thumbnails.

  • Pick great targets using all new Deep Sky Explorer thumbnails (28,000 of them) with higher quality and resolution shown in B&W or inverse B&W as well as the 600 color thumbnails in the Advanced Imager Catalog.

  • Establish and track Goals & Results using the new re-sizable Favorites thumbnail display. Progress bars show target frames achieved at a glance. Automatically import results from CCDAutoPilot5 or update results manually.

  • Target positions are cached for re-use (optional) in future sessions and cached Preview images yield faster operation and availability when off-line.

  • Notification by daily email with critical session times, tonight’s Favorites and a Clear Sky Chart graph (if available) for one or all of your imaging sites.

  • Real-Time planning during astronomical darkness on the session date starts the session plan at the current time.
  • Supports both automatic (optimal) and "Drag & Drop" manual ordering of session targets.

  • "Frame Balancing" (optionally) adjusts frame counts to yield equal post-session RGB or Narrowband numbers of frames.

  • Added series types for bi-color and narrowband bi-color and support for imagers using both Clear and Luminance filters.

  • Improved window management for hiding / restoring all open windows; moving all windows together (“Snap and Track”); enhanced tiling / cascading to view 10, 20 or 30 Information windows.

See the videos below for more detail.


Exploring the Cosmos


Choose and Calibrate FOVI

Using CCDNavigator3 with ACP Expert

Image Something New Every Night!

Choose targets from "The Advanced Imager Catalog" consisting of objects imaged by some of the world's best imagers or use a second catalog, "The Deep Sky Explorer Catalog", that combines 28 astronomical catalogs. Because a thumbnail is included for all 28,000 objects, you can quickly determine if a target merits inclusion in an imaging session and you can easily hunt down and image little known objects.

Target Criteria controls let you manage the types and numbers of objects presented. You can filter objects by availability, classification (galaxy, nebula, etc.), constellation, size, brightness and the amount of time the target is available. This allows you to concentrate on objects that "fit" your system and to plan automated all-night imaging runs. Details about the session are displayed and graphed including Sunrise and Sunset, start and end of darkness, plus information about the Moon’s dark cycle and possible interference.

Advanced Planning Tools Optimize Every Minute of Darkness

CCDNavigator’s advanced target scheduling algorithm automatically optimizes the order for imaging targets and provides initial frame counts for each target’s available time that the user can easily customize. The scheduler takes all the guesswork out of planning an imaging session and eliminates wasted time. If you desire, you can alter this sequence by simply dragging and dropping the target's session thumbnails to create a different order.

Both DSLR and CCD systems using any guiding method are fully supported. For CCD imagers RGB, LRGB or NB (Narrow Band) sequences are automatically generated that acquire frames at optimal elevations to avoid the effects of seeing and color extinction. This ensures that you will image the target at its highest possible elevation to get the best technical results. As an alternative, the user can have the scheduler generate the usual “round robin” sequence of LRGB frames.

The "EZ-Guide" feature automatically selects guide stars and positions targets for auto-guiding with a guide scope, internal guide chip or off-axis guider. Using CCDNavigator's link to TheSky, it positions the auto-guider on guide stars and calculates guide star exposures based on two guide star reference exposures. Guide-scopes with offsets are modeled and off-axis guiders can be at any position. All these methods are supported both with and without camera rotators.

With “Preview”, the user can easily “fine tune” the position to get their preferred composition and tell how the image is going to look as the camera’s position is adjusted. CCDNavigator retrieves images from NASA’s SkyView facility that are the precise field-of-view of your telescope/camera system at the exact position and rotation established by “EZ-Guide”.

Key Features:

  • Visually select targets from 28,000 objects in 28 catalogs.
  • Create single or multi-target imaging plans for export into popular automation programs such as CCDAutoPilot.
  • Advanced scheduler optimizes technical results.
  • Fully automatic guide star selection and exposure calculations
  • Interactive Preview positioning for perfect compositions.
  • Graphs show rise, transit and set times of targets and interference by the Moon.
  • The next “Dark Cycle” of the Moon is shown and 12 months of dark cycles can be viewed and exported to a calendar program.
  • A session graph shows the real-time allocation of each target selected for imaging and allows the user to adjust the allocations.
  • View DSS plates and SIMBAD data for any target based on your cameras field of view auto-guider positioning.
  • Local horizon lets you know when obstructions will interfere with a target.
  • Establish and review goals and results for targets, automatically import results from CCDAutoPilot5 or update them manually.
  • Daily email notifications of critical session times for one or all of your imaging sites with lists of available targets and, if available, a Clear Sky Chart graph for each site.
  • Supports unlimited numbers of cameras and sites.




Visually plan imaging sessions with thumbnails and availability graphs.

Over 32,000 objects in 32 celestial catalogs each with its own thumbnail.

Export imaging plans into popular automation programs like CCDAutoPilot5. ACP Expert and ACP.

Advanced features allow for maximum imaging time.