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Yearly Planner?
#1
Is there a way to list the objects in your list as to the best time in the year to observe them?  Perhaps best month?  I would like to order my list so that I know which months to plan for my objects.  I know about the yearly view in the individual object view but I would like to have that listed for each object in my list and then order the list based on that.

That was a request back last year on the old yahoo group.  You said you thought the next version 3 would satisfy that need.  I could not find that addressed anywhere.

Dale Eason
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#2
Hi Dale,

To be honest, I don't really see a need for ordering by best time of year for visual observing. Eventually it is going to come down to you being out at the scope on a specific night and the Nightly Planner will tell you which objects to observe then. The exception is when you want to know the best time of year for a specific object, but as you said, that can be done.

If I am missing something, please free to make a case for why this would be useful.

That said, I think imaging is different because you can reasonably plan for the future. In that case, the new ST4 Imaging Target Selection Tool (which is sort of like the Nightly Planner) tells us what the best night of the year is, as well as the range of nights over which it is well observed. So if you are talking about imaging, I think you are going to enjoy it.
Clear skies,
Greg

SkyTools Developer
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#3
I don't know how to explain it better. Maybe I'm missing some sort of organization key you already have. I want to pick what objects I need to see and hopefully something can tell me when is the best time to see them.

I have n object left in my Urban list. When can I expect to finish them based on when they will be visible.

If there was a best month column I would just sort my list based on that. I could plan much better. Maybe RA is close to that and I should try sorting on that.

Dale
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#4
(2018-04-26, 03:02 AM)DaleEason Wrote: I don't know how to explain it better.  Maybe I'm missing some sort of organization key you already have.  I want to pick what objects I need to see and hopefully something can tell me when is the best time to see them.  

I have n object left in my Urban list.  When can I expect to finish them based on when they will be visible.

If there was a best month column I would just sort my list based on that.  I could plan much better.  Maybe RA is close to that and I should try sorting on that.

Dale

Hi Dale,

The organization key is to plan each night separately. Pick a night and plan it. The Nightly Planner does exactly what you want it to do. It helps pick objects to see (on that night) and then it tells you when it is best to observe them (on that night). It's simple. It will help you find appropriate objects to observe and help you get a good view of each of them.

1. Filter out all but those objects best observed on the night in question

2. Sort in optimum time order.

3. Go observe them near the times indicated

There is no direct way to know exactly when your n objects will be finished. After all, it depends on your availability, weather, etc. But you can always preview ahead one month at a time. That should give you a good idea. But why does it really matter? I can't think of any advantage in knowing when a list will be finished. What I suggest is to concentrate on finding interesting objects that are best observed tonight, then the next night, and the next, and if working through a list, take the ones that are good now and enjoy them.

Here are some tutorials that may help get the most of out SkyTools. The one for the Nightly Planner may be of particular interest:

https://skyhound.com/skytools_tutorials.html
Clear skies,
Greg

SkyTools Developer
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#5
Thanks for the link's I have seen the tutorials and found them useful and good.  I have been using your program for a year or more.  I have been observing for years.

There are at least two types of plans I do.

1.  I'm going to be at star party x.  What on my list will be good then for me to concentrate on.  I need to learn that part of the sky because some of the requirements are that I star hop to it.  Maybe the object is difficult to see still and I need to learn what it looks like and some of it's history.  I may need to study up on it ahead of time.  I can't study every object that might be on the list ahead of time.

2.  I'm not at a star party and I have objects I want to see. When will be the best to try to see them.  Ah I see THor's helmet will not be visible until this fall.  Ignore it for awhile. Is there anything I have not seen that will be available in the next new moon?

I'm an experienced observer and I have found my process useful.  I know I need a lot of conditions in order to observe, weather, etc.  But the primary condition I need when tracking down those faint fuzzies is when they will be at their best to see.  Object x is real difficult. When can I expect to have a chance to see it so that I can plan to have my scope setup and in the right location to capture it.  

In the nightly planner we sort on best time in order to see what might be good at that time of night we will be out.  We sort on other fields for other good reasons to order the list for all kinds of reasons.  I suppose I must take the short time view approach for your program and just look at my lest for the next new moon.

I like your program for other things.  Ok well,  I hoped for a yearly planner.  Sometimes I need to plan a trip for objects because they are blocked from view of my usual observing place.  


Here is what I do now which is not very satisfactory.  I look at each object's year bar.  Figure out the month.  Put the month in the headline field.  At least it will pop up in the list.  Too bad I cant sort on it.

There are a few other users who would like to do the same.  The conversation on the yahoo group started last year around Jun 2017.  I only brought it up here because I thought you said back then you had a feature coming for that.  

One user said

One thing I couldn't find yet is a quick way to find the best days of the year to image an object. The general workflow of the application seems to be geared around finding the best objects for a given night, I would like to look at it the other way round i.e. I preselect certain targets and would like to find the best days to image them (longest duration). Is there a good way to go about this?

end Quote 

PS.  I'm  a software engineer myself.  I have a program that people use to measure telescope mirrors from Interferograms.  I have uses who want things I don't have and did not think of at first.  So I understand a little about your situation.  Thank you for the program in the first place.  I know it is a lot of effort.  I really really like the year bar and the nightly time bar.  Both are very useful.

Thank you Dale Eason
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#6
(2018-04-26, 04:27 PM)DaleEason Wrote: Thanks for the link's I have seen the tutorials and found them useful and good.  I have been using your program for a year or more.  I have been observing for years.

There are at least two types of plans I do.

1.  I'm going to be at star party x.  What on my list will be good then for me to concentrate on.  I need to learn that part of the sky because some of the requirements are that I star hop to it.  Maybe the object is difficult to see still and I need to learn what it looks like and some of it's history.  I may need to study up on it ahead of time.  I can't study every object that might be on the list ahead of time.

2.  I'm not at a star party and I have objects I want to see. When will be the best to try to see them.  Ah I see THor's helmet will not be visible until this fall.  Ignore it for awhile. Is there anything I have not seen that will be available in the next new moon?

I'm an experienced observer and I have found my process useful.  I know I need a lot of conditions in order to observe, weather, etc.  But the primary condition I need when tracking down those faint fuzzies is when they will be at their best to see.  Object x is real difficult. When can I expect to have a chance to see it so that I can plan to have my scope setup and in the right location to capture it.  

In the nightly planner we sort on best time in order to see what might be good at that time of night we will be out.  We sort on other fields for other good reasons to order the list for all kinds of reasons.  I suppose I must take the short time view approach for your program and just look at my lest for the next new moon.

I like your program for other things.  Ok well,  I hoped for a yearly planner.  Sometimes I need to plan a trip for objects because they are blocked from view of my usual observing place.  


Here is what I do now which is not very satisfactory.  I look at each object's year bar.  Figure out the month.  Put the month in the headline field.  At least it will pop up in the list.  Too bad I cant sort on it.

There are a few other users who would like to do the same.  The conversation on the yahoo group started last year around Jun 2017.  I only brought it up here because I thought you said back then you had a feature coming for that.  

One user said

One thing I couldn't find yet is a quick way to find the best days of the year to image an object. The general workflow of the application seems to be geared around finding the best objects for a given night, I would like to look at it the other way round i.e. I preselect certain targets and would like to find the best days to image them (longest duration). Is there a good way to go about this?

end Quote 

PS.  I'm  a software engineer myself.  I have a program that people use to measure telescope mirrors from Interferograms.  I have uses who want things I don't have and did not think of at first.  So I understand a little about your situation.  Thank you for the program in the first place.  I know it is a lot of effort.  I really really like the year bar and the nightly time bar.  Both are very useful.

Thank you Dale Eason

Dale,

Thanks for your feedback. I do appreciate your taking the time. I am sorry if I appear to be narrow minded or dismissive. It's just that I have been writing software for planning observations all of adult my life. During this time I have worked to simplify things down to what is actually necessary and useful. The SkyTools system is well tested over more than twenty years and large numbers of people rely on it. People sometimes come to me wanting a different approach on this or that, and we have had similar discussions. When you are used to thinking a certain way or just plain want to do it that way, it is difficult to have someone come along and say, "that is not the best way to do it." And that is what I am basically saying. If you and others don't see this, then it is instructive for all to have this conversation. And who knows, I may learn something in the process or even come to see things your way. It has happened. So when this sort of thing comes up, I always take the bull by the horns and go ahead and have that conversation, even if it makes people uncomfortable. But there is no point in it if I am not frank.

So let's look at this in detail. Take your point 1. Assume you are planning to go to a star party next fall. It is set for the new moon on the weekend of October 6. The star party will be a long weekend, lasting three nights.

Now, I could provide a tool that adds columns to your list that tells you, today, what the best time of year is to observe each object. And you could sort that list and note that several of them will be good in October. But what happens then? What do we actually do with that information?

Eventually you are going to attend that star party and observe your objects, and I claim that the Nightly Planner, along with the many other tools, such as the Database Power Search or the Nightly Observing List Generator, will help you find the right objects to observe during the star party and what time of night to observe them. Is that not what you are trying to do?

So why not just start planning now? What I am saying is to set the date on the Nightly Planner to October 6 and filter the list for the objects best observed then. Or open the NOLG and create your own custom list to observe then. Or use the Database Power Search to create a list for that time of year. Now that you know what you will be observing, you have months to prepare. I simply do not see how this is somehow a shortcoming of the software. One way or another you are planning for a night of observations. Your suggested feature doesn't actually get us there.

Regarding point 2. As I mentioned before, the Nightly Planner is designed specifically to address this exact scenario. I am kind of baffled by your suggested that t somehow isn't. If you are having trouble with the best way to use it, please feel free to ask specific questions, and I and others here will be happy to help you get the best use out of it. Perhaps you aren't aware that the Nightly Planner calculates the detectability (usually in terms of contrast) of an object throughout the night. It also calculates what the best detectability is on the best night from that location. One is compared to the other to determine how good the opportunity on the selected night is and to determine the time period when it is at its best. This information is related to you on the planner. There are also filters to help you select only those objects that are at or near their best, should this be what you want. The end result is that you don't need to know the best night of the year for each object because SkyTools has already considered that and used it to provide the final, very useful, results. The reason I suggested the video tutorials is that they cover how best to do exactly what you want, and they can do it better than me typing here.

Lastly, regarding your quote: I already addressed this with you. Imaging is different and SkyTools 4 will have features that will address the needs that were mentioned in the quote. I would hope that you would share this news with whomever you are quoting.
Clear skies,
Greg

SkyTools Developer
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#7
(2018-04-26, 08:01 PM)theskyhound Wrote: Lastly, regarding your quote: I already addressed this with you. Imaging is different and SkyTools 4 will have features that will address the needs that were mentioned in the quote. I would hope that you would share this news with whomever you are quoting.
Thank you for your detailed response that I did not repeat here.

I'm quoting from your Yahoo group site.  I don't know that person.  I was just using one of the several posts to show that others for what ever reason would also like a yearly planner.  I don't think you really want me to post this back on the Yahoo group site do you?

(2018-04-26, 08:01 PM)theskyhound Wrote: Now, I could provide a tool that adds columns to your list that tells you, today, what the best time of year is to observe each object. And you could sort that list and note that several of them will be good in October. But what happens then? What do we actually do with that information?

That would be great if you would.  First I would record that information on my paper observing list for those objects.  I would also  order the Sky tools planner list by best month.  Because of what ever reasons I needed that information.  I might plan a trip around the new moon of that time to the best location I have available for seeing those objects that grouped around that new moon in the sorted list.
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#8
I am sorry Dale, but I don't seem to be able to make myself understood. I was not suggesting a new feature. I was explaining why it isn't necessary or useful. I would have thought that would be crystal clear from what I wrote. I must admit to some frustration at this point, as I don't feel you are listening to what I am saying. Everything you need is already there in the Nightly Planner.
Clear skies,
Greg

SkyTools Developer
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#9
(2018-04-27, 05:52 PM)theskyhound Wrote: I am sorry Dale, but I don't seem to be able to make myself understood. I was not suggesting a new feature. I was explaining why it isn't necessary or useful. I would have thought that would be crystal clear from what I wrote. I must admit to some frustration at this point, as I don't feel you are listening to what I am saying. Everything you need is already there in the Nightly Planner.

Greg,

I too am frustrated. 

I will try once more because you said if I'm having trouble with a specific detail let you know.

My scenario #2 was what I am having trouble with.  Lets say I have 5 objects I want to see.  How do I use the program to find the best night to see them.  

Here is how I would do it now.  Select the observing list they are in.  Program says each object is not visible tonight.  Need to figure out when they will be visible. So  go to each object 
 and open it's  Object information page and then click on its year bar.  Record the best month somewhere.  Then do the same for the other 5 objects.  

Examine my list I recorded somewhere and plan an observing session around that time.

Is that the only way?
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#10
(2018-04-27, 10:34 PM)DaleEason Wrote:
(2018-04-27, 05:52 PM)theskyhound Wrote: I am sorry Dale, but I don't seem to be able to make myself understood. I was not suggesting a new feature. I was explaining why it isn't necessary or useful. I would have thought that would be crystal clear from what I wrote. I must admit to some frustration at this point, as I don't feel you are listening to what I am saying. Everything you need is already there in the Nightly Planner.

Greg,

I too am frustrated. 

I will try once more because you said if I'm having trouble with a specific detail let you know.

My scenario #2 was what I am having trouble with.  Lets say I have 5 objects I want to see.  How do I use the program to find the best night to see them.  

Here is how I would do it now.  Select the observing list they are in.  Program says each object is not visible tonight.  Need to figure out when they will be visible. So  go to each object 
 and open it's  Object information page and then click on its year bar.  Record the best month somewhere.  Then do the same for the other 5 objects.  

Examine my list I recorded somewhere and plan an observing session around that time.

Is that the only way?

As twilight moves, moonlight comes and goes, daylight saving time appears, then disappears, every night is in fact unique. And it is unique for each object, because they come to different maximum elevations and/or are affected by the brightness of the sky differently. There is no point in checking what might be good next week, because it will always have to come back to a specific night in order for there to be a useful answer. I think this is the key point that your are not considering.

After all, you can look up the best time of year for an object in a handbook. So why would you need software? The answer is that software can do much more than that. For practical reasons, in order to get the most out of it, you need to look at a single night. The purpose is always, in the end, to plan for one night at a time. There is no getting around that, no shortcut.
Clear skies,
Greg

SkyTools Developer
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