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  Gaia Import
Posted by: Starmaster - 2017-11-19, 06:46 PM - Forum: SkyTools 3 General Discussion - Replies (10)

I would like to import subsets of GAIA data into SkyTools.

The GAIA Archive is located here: http://cdn.gea.esac.esa.int/Gaia/gaia_source/csv/

The data sets are large, so I have downloaded and created small subsets of less than 1000 stars per file set. I do not see an import facility in SKT3Pro that would allow me to perform the import.

Can you provide guidance.

Will SKT4Pro provide this facility assuming SKT3Pro does not?

Thank you!

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  Mars showing Phobos & Deimos
Posted by: Dennis - 2017-11-18, 06:41 AM - Forum: Solar, Lunar and Planetary Imaging - Replies (3)

More with hope than confidence, I set up on Sunday night, 15th May 2016 to see if I could record the two moons of Mars; Phobos and Deimos. I expected Deimos to be fairly straightforward, lying some 60 arc secs from Mars but Phobos would only be 24 arc sec distant, bathed in the glare of the Martian disc. The seeing was very good and when the results came in, Deimos was unmistakable and I had a few grains of light as a promising candidate for Phobos. Smile
 
After much image processing and stretching of the data, I was able to get everything to “pop out” in one aligned/stacked frame, including 4 field stars. Cool
 
Taken with a Tak Mewlon 180 F12, TeleVue x2 PowerMate, Atik 414EX CCD camera, 20x4 sec exposures, 10:08pm AEST.
 
For the disc of Mars, I used a ZWO ASI224MC CMOS camera and overlaid the (re-sized) image over the grossly over-exposed Martian disc.
 
As usual ST3 provided the confirmation when I overlaid an ST3 screen capture and the plotted positions in ST3 precisely fitted the imaged positions. Smile
 
Cheers
 
Dennis



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  Uranus; Ariel, Miranda, Oberon, Titania and Umbriel
Posted by: Dennis - 2017-11-18, 05:56 AM - Forum: Solar, Lunar and Planetary Imaging - Replies (3)

On 24th October 2017 I managed to record the 5 brighter satellites of Uranus; Ariel, Miranda, Oberon, Titania and Umbriel. SkyTools 3 Pro was used to confirm the positions of 4 of these, namely Ariel, Oberon, Titania and Umbriel. Smile
 
The following (edited) data was Copy/Pasted from ST3.

Uranus details:
Magnitude: 5.69
Size: 3.7"
Earth Distance: 18.9 AU
Diameter: 51118.0 km

Satellite details:
(Name/Mag/Angular separation)
Ariel                       14m3     11.2”
Miranda               16m7     09.5”
Oberon                14m1     41.9”
Titania                  13m9     23.4”
Umbriel                15m0     14.5”
 
Equipment details:
Takahashi Mewlon 210 F11.5.
TeleVue 2” Powermate x2.0
Efl 4830mm at F23
 
Camera details:
Atik 414EX Camera
Exposure 30sec
5 frames
Image scale of 0.28 arcsec/pixel
 
It was a tough job digging 16.7 magnitude Miranda out of the glare of the disc of Uranus but choosing the time of maximum elongation (9.5 arc secs) and favourable seeing, made the task feasible.
 
SkyTools has consistently plotted these fainter objects reliably and accurately compared to the other two Windows PC Planetarium programs that I also use. When chasing some of the more rare objects, it is comforting to know that I can rely on the accuracy of the SkyTools data. Smile
 
The ST3 overlay in the 1st image shows how accurate ST3 plotted the 4 brighter satellites of Uranus. Hey Greg – will Miranda be added in ST4? Wink
 
Thanks Greg, for such a fantastic, feature-rich program. Smile
 
Cheers
 
Dennis



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  SkyMarks - which editions?
Posted by: blakesphere - 2017-11-17, 04:26 PM - Forum: SkyTools 3 General Discussion - Replies (1)

Hi,

I checked the comparison table about this...
https://skyhound.com/compare.html

But I didn't find a specific reference to this.

Which edition(s) allows the addition of SkyMarks? I have Pro and of course it works. A friend has the Starter edition, I believe, and cannot add objects.

cheers,
Blake

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  A Very Marginal Image of a Comet
Posted by: theskyhound - 2017-11-17, 01:13 AM - Forum: Minor Planet and Comet Astrometry - No Replies

So this is likely one of the worst images of a comet you are going to see. But that was sort of the point. This is a Track & Stack in Astrometrica of three 4-min exposures from last night. The remote imaging system used was T21, located just a few miles down the road in Mayhill, NM, via iTelescope.com. It is a Planewave 17" CDK with an FLI-PL6303E camera. 

As with most of my imaging these days, this was a SkyTools 4 test. A little backstory first: stellar and diffuse objects are modeled differently. A diffuse object, such as a nebula or galaxy, is modeled as one typical image pixel sampling a continuous surface brightness. A stellar object is modeled as a Gaussian Point Spread function. The details aren't really important-what matters is that comets are both of these things, and to varying degrees depending on the comet. Some comets look like stars with no visible coma, while others are completely diffuse, with no central bright spot. Most lie somewhere in between. This makes comets really difficult to model.

SkyTools 4 told me that comet 250P/Larsen would be high in the sky at around 3 AM, and with an integrated magnitude of 19.1, SkyTools predicted that it would be a difficult target. In fact, SkyTools predicted that even once I stacked three 4-min exposures the Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) would only be 8. An SNR of at least 5 is typically required to do fairly accurate astrometry. So SkyTools was predicting that this would be a marginal observation.

And indeed it was! The SNR measured by Astrometrica was 6, which is quite close. This relatively small difference is actually quite remarkable, given how difficult comets are to model. Being able to fairly accurately predict how long of an exposure is required to obtain good astrometry is a rather useful thing!

Incidentally, SkyTools 4 also told me that the comet would only move by 3 pixels over the course of the three exposures, and that it would move by 1 pixel during each of them.



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  Tablets and ST Eyepiece Views
Posted by: semiosteve - 2017-11-15, 08:16 PM - Forum: Equipment - No Replies

So I am thinking of getting a Windows tablet so I can use ST more easily at the eyepiece. Using a laptop does not work when I land up either on my knees or up on a ladder.


While I know ST will run on most any Windows 10 tablet,  I am interested in any recommendations that deal with the quality of the view. I gather low price tablets have less crisp resolution and other display weaknesses. At the other extreme are AMOLED displays on very high price devices that have gorgeous black with no light leakage.

So what I am interested to hear from this community is any experiences with "at the eyepiece" uses of tablets  for ST eyepiece and atlas views.

Best
Steve

P.S. I have SkySafari on my Google Pixel and it just does not cannot come close to ST's ability portray what you will  see in the eyepiece (though I do love the AMOLED display).

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  Nova in Ophiuchus
Posted by: Pikaia - 2017-11-14, 11:42 PM - Forum: Visual Deep Sky Observing - Replies (1)

https://www.aavso.org/aavso-alert-notice-605

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  Anyone interested in NEOs?
Posted by: Jhroof - 2017-11-14, 10:04 PM - Forum: Solar System Imaging - Replies (6)

Wow.  I'm the first to post on the new forum.  Big Grin  My current interest is tracking down Near Earth Objects.  The past couple of nights I have been following 444584 (2006 UK).  At around 15th mag it is about at the limit I can do from light polluted Orlando Fl. Anybody else interested in NEOs?

Also Greg, I sure would like a copy of Skytools 4 beta.  I have a licensed  copy of Skytools 3 Pro and use it all the time.

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  Spurious Asteroids
Posted by: Joe Stieber - 2017-11-14, 09:15 PM - Forum: SkyTools 3 General Support - Replies (3)

I'm using SkyTools Version 3.2i Pro on a Windows 7 laptop.

When I display an Interactive Atlas for an asteroid and set it to the Supplemental database, a number of odd asteroids appear.
 
For example, looking at (4) Vesta at 5:45 am EST on 15-November-2017, there are four other asteroids nearby that are in the 3.7 to 3.8 magnitude range. The object information indicates they are all 1900 to 5900 km diameter and 1.5 to 1.6 au from the sun. I've attached a screen clip of the area near Vesta with them. There are a few other similar objects scattered on a current 30° wide x 15° Vesta chart, and similar objects (always 2010 something) appear whenever I look at asteroids on a wider field chart and the Supplemental box is checked.

They are clearly spurious, but they're annoying on-screen and confusing on a finder chart printout. I presume they're a database fault rather than a SkyTools fault. Regardless, is there a way to get rid of them?

Joe Stieber

P.S. -- I hope this is the correct section for posting this thread -- just learning the ropes here!



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  Need help with problem updating current lists
Posted by: theskyhound - 2017-11-14, 07:33 PM - Forum: SkyTools 3 General Discussion - Replies (12)

Hello everyone,

A user is reporting that he is no longer able to update his current lists from the web. I did make some changes to my website recently, switching over to https, and I am concerned that this may have caused his problem. Please run the following test and report your results:

1. Open SkyTools
2. Select the "Update 'current' Lists from web" from the Observing List menu on the Nightly Planner

Does the popup dialog say that the lists were updated properly? Or does it say "Unable to update?"

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