Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

which software is best for visual observation planning, charting and logging?

charts dob observing observing report
  • Please log in to reply
37 replies to this topic

#26 Oscar56

Oscar56

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,381
  • Joined: 25 Jan 2013
  • Loc: Okanagan Valley, BC.

Posted 05 September 2018 - 05:30 PM

I also use Deep Sky Planner 7, its a valuable tool to use in conjunction with Sky Tools. Its especially good if you are planning a series of different targets for any one night.

Ed

Ed:

 

is there a way to copy observations from SkyTools to Sky-Planner 7?



#27 Kyphoron

Kyphoron

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 572
  • Joined: 05 Apr 2005
  • Loc: Rhode Island

Posted 06 September 2018 - 07:24 AM

I use both Skytools and Deep Sky Planner out in the field on my tablet. Both install nicely to it and I actually have them running off my micro SD card with no lag at all. Both programs run at full with no adjustments needed and I can log all my observations at the scope and then when I get home download all the info directly to my desktop computer and then print them all for a hard copy.

 

Being a push to guy the three panel charts that Skytools provides are bar none the best out there and then when I am feeling lazy I can run Deep Sky Planner and select the object to send to my Nexus to guide me to. I can run both programs at once and its just a matter of switching back and forth between programs for observations, charting or sending info to the Nexus. No need for other programs.

 

During the day if I am at a star party I have a power bank that charges my tablet and itself via solar so by the evening my tablet and I are ready to go again. No need to waste my phone battery on observing.  



#28 halx

halx

    Vendor (DSO Planner)

  • ****-
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 2,580
  • Joined: 28 Sep 2010
  • Loc: Albany, California, USA

Posted 06 September 2018 - 12:21 PM

I would also poke the abstract "best software" specs:

Here is what I see crucial to have (for my visual DSO observing from rural dark LPZ sites):

  1. It must provide an ultimate dark adaptation safety but also allow comfortable day time use.
  2. It must chart as many stars as needed to cover my observing instrument's limiting magnitude (which is 16m for a 12").
  3. The DSO objects database must be fully searchable, expandable, correctable, and editable in the field (including adding custom images of the object or its custom charts, e.g. AAVSO comparison charts).
  4. The objects' database must provide all of the information about any selected object available in the app using the cross-references between its databases.
  5. Offline DSS overlay is a must (must be fully controllable for the darkness adaptation).
  6. DSO contour lines or at least the real size placeholders.
  7. It should work offline (at least after the planning is done).
  8. There must be a data sharing feature (like import/export of everything using files or drop points).
  9. Full control of all chart's elements colors and sizes, including star's magnitude gradients per chart's FOV, and lines thickness (when I'm deeply dark adapted the visual acuity resolution drops).
  10. Integrated text and voice notes per observed object, with automatic annotations in the dedicated database.
  11. Full control of what the chart is showing and what's not, including the removal of already observed objects on the fly (to avoid overcrowded screen which is not good for the darkness adaptation and interfere with tough objects hunting).
  12. I want to be able to have the chart side by side with my Telrad view for "patterns matching" pointing with the exact Telrad rings copy on the chart.
  13. I want to have it side by side with my eyepiece view for objects identification between stars with the exact eyepiece FOV ring overlay on the chart.
  14. All of the planning and logging features should be in one app as switching between apps through OS screens may ruin the darkness adaptation.
  15. I want to operate the chart singlehanded, as my second hand might be occupied with the scope control.
  16. Portability, so I can shove the device into my pocket when not in use or mount the screen on the telescope for hands-free use.

  • Merc and DHEB like this

#29 DHEB

DHEB

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,088
  • Joined: 12 Sep 2010
  • Loc: Sweden

Posted 06 September 2018 - 12:49 PM

 

I would also poke the abstract "best software" specs:

Here is what I see crucial to have (for my visual DSO observing from rural dark LPZ sites):

  1. It must provide an ultimate dark adaptation safety but also allow comfortable day time use.
  2. It must chart as many stars as needed to cover my observing instrument's limiting magnitude (which is 16m for a 12").
  3. The DSO objects database must be fully searchable, expandable, correctable, and editable in the field (including adding custom images of the object or its custom charts, e.g. AAVSO comparison charts).
  4. The objects' database must provide all of the information about any selected object available in the app using the cross-references between its databases.
  5. Offline DSS overlay is a must (must be fully controllable for the darkness adaptation).
  6. DSO contour lines or at least the real size placeholders.
  7. It should work offline (at least after the planning is done).
  8. There must be a data sharing feature (like import/export of everything using files or drop points).
  9. Full control of all chart's elements colors and sizes, including star's magnitude gradients per chart's FOV, and lines thickness (when I'm deeply dark adapted the visual acuity resolution drops).
  10. Integrated text and voice notes per observed object, with automatic annotations in the dedicated database.
  11. Full control of what the chart is showing and what's not, including the removal of already observed objects on the fly (to avoid overcrowded screen which is not good for the darkness adaptation and interfere with tough objects hunting).
  12. I want to be able to have the chart side by side with my Telrad view for "patterns matching" pointing with the exact Telrad rings copy on the chart.
  13. I want to have it side by side with my eyepiece view for objects identification between stars with the exact eyepiece FOV ring overlay on the chart.
  14. All of the planning and logging features should be in one app as switching between apps through OS screens may ruin the darkness adaptation.
  15. I want to operate the chart singlehanded, as my second hand might be occupied with the scope control.
  16. Portability, so I can shove the device into my pocket when not in use or mount the screen on the telescope for hands-free use.

 

+1

 

Very nice requirements specification!

 

We could add:

 

17. platform independent

18. energy efficient (does not suck a lot of power from the device)

 

and, why not (if dreaming is allowed):

 

19. free as in both beer and speech  grin.gif 



#30 Kyphoron

Kyphoron

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 572
  • Joined: 05 Apr 2005
  • Loc: Rhode Island

Posted 06 September 2018 - 02:38 PM

While I do like the DSO app a lot my old eyes and a small phones screen do not work well together at night standing at a telescope. Believe me if DSO was a windows based app that I could install and use on my tablet it would be there because as mentioned above it has a lot of great features that I use. Unfortunately as with the case of astronomy there can be a whole lot of information in a small observing area and trying to represent that accurately on a small screen can get cluttered. This even happens on larger tablets and for me and my eyes it can become an issue. I don't want to be straining my eyes both at the phone and then at the scope if I don't have to. Bare in mind I am not blaming the app but the phone. 



#31 halx

halx

    Vendor (DSO Planner)

  • ****-
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 2,580
  • Joined: 28 Sep 2010
  • Loc: Albany, California, USA

Posted 06 September 2018 - 04:04 PM

The No.9 and No.11 are exactly to amend for these issues, Paul. Also, you can get a small tablet, like an 8" one Jon is using. I'm personally ended up using a pair of reading glasses (+2.5) with one lens removed. 



#32 Kyphoron

Kyphoron

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 572
  • Joined: 05 Apr 2005
  • Loc: Rhode Island

Posted 06 September 2018 - 04:54 PM

Alex,

 

  I am assuming that for tablets it has to be android based. All my tablets are windows based and although tablets are relatively cheap I don't see myself using two tablets at the scope.



#33 halx

halx

    Vendor (DSO Planner)

  • ****-
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 2,580
  • Joined: 28 Sep 2010
  • Loc: Albany, California, USA

Posted 07 September 2018 - 11:46 AM

Paul, why would you need two tablets at the telescope? Also, an 8" screen tablet might be significantly more portable compared to a Windows tablet while providing enough boost to help you with the charts visibility. A right Android tablet also may have the AMOLED screen technology (most Samsungs) which I believe is a must to fulfill #1. The workflow with charts on a smallish smartphone is definitely quite different compared to large screens or paper maps. I'm often referring to it as to the Augmented Reality flow. Imagine it's not a chart but rather an enhanced eyepiece view and even a smallish screen will do wonders.

 

For example, I'm rarely panning the digital chart around, just selecting the target object from the observation plan to center it on the screen, and zoom from Telrad overlay (while pointing) to the eyepiece overlay (for the identification). If the chart is hard to see I'm adding up to the chart's lines thickness, making them a bit brighter, and scaling the stars gradient to like 1/4" sized stars.



#34 Kyphoron

Kyphoron

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 572
  • Joined: 05 Apr 2005
  • Loc: Rhode Island

Posted 07 September 2018 - 06:59 PM

Alex,

 

  My tablet is a windows tablet. I run Skytools and Deep Sky Planner on it. I have had this tablet for a long time. Like I said, I do like DSO but it does not run on a windows tablet. If it did run under windows then it would for sure be on my at the scope tablet. 

 

  I don't mind a larger tablet and the one I have is a 10". Its mounted on a pole near my Nexus DSC so I can either use it as a push to device when using in conjunction with my Nexus or as a charter when using my telrad. Either way I must get off my step stool to move my scope to the desired position using either the DSCs or the telrad so that's not an issue. 


  • halx likes this

#35 gregj888

gregj888

    Mercury-Atlas

  • -----
  • Posts: 2,702
  • Joined: 26 Mar 2006
  • Loc: Oregon

Posted 07 September 2018 - 07:48 PM

Great list

 

I would add:

1) support for double stars (and variable stars)

2) parametric searches:  I want to be able to search on any parameter, Mag (Pri, Sec), separation,

     constellation are a minimum.

3) I need to be able to add my own catalogues.

 

Also, tie it into INDI/ASCOM and the planetarium programs.  For planning I want to extract a list of targets for the night.  Maybe sort on Zenith transit.  That list goes into CDC or KStars/EKOS or SGP.  When I slew to an object (in via CDC) and hit notes it should: 

1) already know what the target is but also record the location as confirmation

2) record time I was on the target and photography info if imaging

3) allow my comments with a minimum of additional fields to fill out.

 

I currently can and do this with Deep Sky and use it, but it could be cleaner and once Win7 goes... who knows.  Looking for an option under Linux.



#36 dongallo

dongallo

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 110
  • Joined: 05 Aug 2018
  • Loc: Knoxville, TN

Posted 08 September 2018 - 06:34 AM

+1

 

Very nice requirements specification!

 

We could add:

 

17. platform independent

18. energy efficient (does not suck a lot of power from the device)

 

and, why not (if dreaming is allowed):

 

19. free as in both beer and speech  grin.gif

I strongly disagree with free as in both beer and speech. Developing software is hard work, that requires time and money investment in learning how to develop. Time to develop and debug. Why should they give that hard work for free? Software are products and they should be paid for.


  • Merc, halx and RazvanUnderStars like this

#37 halx

halx

    Vendor (DSO Planner)

  • ****-
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 2,580
  • Joined: 28 Sep 2010
  • Loc: Albany, California, USA

Posted 10 September 2018 - 12:28 AM

...Maybe sort on Zenith transit...

You mean the "meridian" transit? That's an equivalent of sorting the list by RA, actually. I'm using sorting by the object's set time, so not a single one could escape me running behind the horizon grin.gif



#38 gregj888

gregj888

    Mercury-Atlas

  • -----
  • Posts: 2,702
  • Joined: 26 Mar 2006
  • Loc: Oregon

Posted 10 September 2018 - 08:06 PM

You mean the "meridian" transit? That's an equivalent of sorting the list by RA, actually. I'm using sorting by the object's set time, so not a single one could escape me running behind the horizon grin.gif

Yes, of course... I work as close to zenith as possible, so not much difference ;-)  I'm mostly doing speckle of close doubles, and there is almost always a few close.




CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: charts, dob, observing, observing report



Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics