Windows CE

There are two programs of significance for Windows CE:

• TheSky Pocket Edition: This is commercial software with no evaluation version. The default stellar catalog goes to magnitude 6, and this can be expanded to magnitude 9 (the SAO database). It includes the NGC and IC catalogs of deep-sky objects and can include up to a hundred comets and asteroids, but the orbital elements for these must be updated using the PC version of the program.

• Pocket Stars: There is no evaluation version, but there is a "no quibble" 30-day guarantee. Includes stars to just over magnitude 6 from the Bright Star catalog, and deep sky objects from the Messier and Caldwell catalogs.

If you use a PalmOS system, there is one other piece of software that is invaluable, not just for binocular astronomers: MoonDate. This piece of freeware calculates the dates of the lunar phases and inserts them into the Palm calendar, thus acting as an aid to future planning of observations.

There is one caveat to using a PDA: dark adaptation. Even if you do use a "red mode," there is still sufficient light to destroy your eyes' dark adaptation. The solution is to cover the screen with either red or neutral density (better) translucent plastic sheet. Remove it if you have an emergency need for a flashlight.

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