The Advanced Imager's Catalog

CCDNavigator uses "The Advanced Imager's Catalog" which consists of objects imaged by some of the world's best imagers and includes a thumbnail of each object. Thus, you know in advance if an object will make an interesting photo.  


The Advanced Imager's Catalog is comprised of images from the following astrophotographers:

The Deep Sky Explorer Catalog

For those wishing to explore lesser-known objects, CCDNavigator compiles many well-known catalogs into one searchable database. Explore an additional 28,000 objects using the included NASA Deep Sky Survey plate images from 28 celestial catalogs.


  • Abell Galaxy Clusters (ABELL)
  • Abell Planetary Nebula (A)
  • Arp Peculiar Galaxies (ARP)
  • Barnard Dark Nebula (B)
  • Berkeley Open Clusters (BER)
  • Caldwell Catalog (C)
  • Cataclysmic Variable Star Catalog (CV)
  • Cederblad Bright Diffuse Nebula (CED)
  • Dunlop Catalog (D)
  • Eclipsing Binary Star Catalog (EB)
  • Gum HII Regions (GUM)
  • Herbig-Haro Catalog (HH)
  • Herschel 400 Catalog (HER)
  • Hickson Compact Galaxy Groups (HCG)
  • Index Catalog (IC)
  • Lynds Bright Nebula (LBN)
  • Lynds Dark Nebula (LDN)
  • MASH Planetary Nebula (G)
  • Messier Catalog (M)
  • Melotte Open Clusters (MEL)
  • Mandel-Wilson Integrated Flux Catalog (MW)
  • New General Catalog (NGC)
  • Palomar Globulars (PAL)
  • Perek-Kohoutek Planetary Nebula (PK)
  • Planetary Nebula (PNG)
  • Quasars (3C)
  • Rodgers-Campbell-Whiteoak Catalog (RCW)
  • Sharpless HII Regions (SH2)
  • Galactic SNR Catalog (SNR)
  • Terzan Globular Clusters (TER)
  • Van Den Bergh Reflection Nebula (VDB)
  • Selected PGC, UGC and MCG galaxies

Advanced Management of Your Imaging Sessions

After selecting targets for a session, you can adjust the real-time allocation of each and see the total session plan graphically or in text format. The exposure and LRGB sequence type can be varied for each target so you can “tune” the session for the targets and your system. Various series for CCD imagers can be initialized by CCDNavigator including LRGB, CRGB, RGB, NB (NarrowBand), and Bi-color for wide and narrow band. You can adjust these initial values however you like.

Export and import individual targets or lists of targets from prior sessions. This lets you quickly re-establish a session for targets by placing them at the same exact position and rotation angle as used previously. Clicking on a thumbnail anywhere will bring up an Information window for target where you can retrieve an image that is precisely the FOV of your camera including rotation, if any. Maintain a personal list of Favorite targets that you want to image in coming months or years. And for each Favorite, set your Goals and track your Results. Receive daily email notification with critical session times and a list Favorites that are available that evening at one or all of your observing sites as well as a Clear Sky Chart for each site. An unlimited number of Cameras and Sites are supported and site locations can be directly imported from TheSkyX or TheSky6.

Export your Imaging Plan

CCDNavigator will export your imaging plan into popular image automation programs:

For those not using automation programs, CCDNavigator exports plans for:

  • CCDSoft by Software Bisque
  • MaxImDL version 4 and 5 by Diffraction Limited



Windows 10 32/64 bit
Windows 8/8.1 32/64 bit
Windows 7 32/64 bit
Windows Vista
Windows XP
Windows 2000
Windows ME
Windows 98 SE

.NET Framework 3.5
.NET Framework 4.0

Software Bisque's TheSkyX or TheSky6 Professional Edition


From the beta testers...

I have been using CCDNavigator since Version 1 and this new Version 3 gives me more flexibility than ever before. The setup is easier and the user interface is simple to use. Getting the field of view from TheSky software is just a few clicks and the Preview shows you how the object will appear in your field of view. I use CCDNavigator during my all night programs at Kitt Peak helping my guests select the objects they want with rich color and detail. For my own projects, I love the Favorites area where I can store targets for future imaging sessions of the Sharpless Catalog.
- Dean Salman, Tucson, AZ

I've been a user and fan of CCDNavigator since its version 1 release and in those days, my understanding of the myriad of details important to capturing images was both overwhelming and frankly over my head. That's why I came to rely on CCDNavigator3 to help chart a course though my imaging evenings. With the release of CCDNavigator3, I'm not just charting a plan for an evening but I'm now planning my ENTIRE year of imaging! With hundreds and thousands of possible targets, it is easily overwhelming and just plain difficult to visualize how a target will actually appear using my telescope and camera, but no longer! In CCDNavigator3, I now have a large (full screen even) list of candidates for my location with adjustable and much larger thumbnails of these targets to pique my interest. As I thumb through this HUGE array of targets, I can click on any one of them and add them to my list of favorites for future imaging. But wait, it gets more interesting. I not only can frame the target on my CCD the way I want (including rotation since I have a rotator), but I can take a simulated image using the DSS library built from Palomar All Sky survey and this shows me exactly how the image will appear on my CCD. But wait, it gets MUCH more interesting! Now I can establish my targeting plan with GOALS that include what filters I want to shoot and how many exposures (or how much exposure time) I want. With these goals established for all of my targets, regardless of the time of year in which they are available, CCDNavigator3 presents me a list of any of my favorites that are available tonight. It not only adds the targets to the plan but it orders them and figures out the filter sequencing to optimize my imaging production while ensuring I'm imaging smartly with regard to color extinction and because I also use CCDAutoPilot5 Professional, I can import this session plan into it and completely automate my multi-target session plan. But wait, it gets EVEN better! After my imaging plan is complete, the next morning CCDNavigator3 imports the CCDAutoPilot5 log and determines how many images were taken AND how many of those passed the quality tests that CCDAutoPilot5 performs. It then updates my GOALS for these targets to show my progress towards achieving my imaging objectives. Now that CCDNavigator3 knows my progress, the next time I add one of these targets to my session plan; it only tries to add the number of additional images I need to achieve my goals so I don't waste precious night sky by over-imaging a target. Once I've gotten through all of my planned exposures, CCDNavigator3 denotes that I've fully imaged this target so I won't waste time re-imaging something I've already accomplished, even if it takes me years to achieve my imaging objectives. Yes, I know I can keep logs and review them manually, but now I don't need to. CCDNavigator3 helps me to choose targets that will look good with my equipment. It then helps me to create a session plan, optimized for greatest productivity and makes this plan available to CCDAutoPilot5 to get it done and then track my progress to complete my goals. Even if this takes multiple imaging seasons, no worries as CCDNavigator3 tracks and manages my targets for me. CCDNavigator3 is a quantum change in target planning and data acquisition management!
-Jonathan Burnett, FL USA

CCDNavigator3 is an absolute gem exceeding all my
expectations and importantly is fun and easy to use. The new and improved
functionalities make it possible to plan and execute future imaging sessions
with little or no stress. The information now presented removes much of the
guesswork when contemplating, planning and executing an imaging run.
It will undoubtedly become a valuable and indispensable imaging tool for
many Astro-photographers.
-Richard Higby, Australia.