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Understanding Optimum Observation time
Thanks Phil,
I'm still testing different functionality - ordinary in order to get familiar with the programs visibility filtering.
I've created two of each: Location, Observer, Scope.

The two locations are the exact same long/lat and timezone.
But one of these locations I've called "RealLocation", and the other "MaxLocation". 
The "RealLocation" visibility parameters are set with realistic values. 
The "MaxLocation" visibility parameters are set to best possible seeing.  

I did the same for "Observer". 

And also for Instruments.
The "RealScope" is the telescope I actually have.
The "MaxScope" is a theoretical reflector with a 100 inch aperture and f7 focal length.

Before I generate an observation list - I select the maxlocation, maxobserver, and maxscope.
As you can imagine this produces a significantly larger list.
I do this because I want to see would be missing otherwise.

Once the list is created, I then switch the location, observer, and scope (one at a time) to the "real" one.
As I switch these - I watch the system filter the list down to see which objects are getting trimmed off the list.

I can then printout both lists and when I'm out with the scope I can check some of the objects that were trimmed off.
If I find there are a number of objects trimmed off - that I can in actually see - then I know my "Real" visibility parameters are not set correctly and need to be adjusted.
Hi dw_Skyhound,

FYI when I create an Auto-generated observing list for my 13" telescope under Bortle 4 skies, I usually get ~130 objects in the observing list. I generate the list around the beginning of the month after Greg has updated the Current objects (Comets, Minor Planets & Supernovae) and with little to no moon (don't generate a list within a few days of full moon). I first generate the list of 'Showpiece' objects at 'Normal' list size & usually get 15-20. Then I append the shallow sky objects and pick up a couple dozen more. Finally I append a 'Large' list of 'Interesting' objects. This usually results in a list of 130-160 objects. I use the list the whole month.

For the supernovae there's a huge difference in the number of visually observable supernovae between my 13" scope (8-12) and the 32" scope at Perkins Observatory (40-50). Your 100" Max scope would probably see the whole list Smile .

Hope you find this useful,

Phil S.
That sounds like a great strategy Phil
You probably don't use the "Begin", "Optimum", and "End" projected times from the observation list?
Those would seem to only apply to a given night.
So if you create a list for the whole month - I'm guessing you ignore those?

I hope you don't mind I ask a few other questions

Do you print your list out on paper?

So far I've liked copying a list and loading it into Excel.
I can then group items object type, and then within each group sort them by magnitude (brighter objects first).

However on the other hand, I can see how useful it would be to group objects by Constellation, and then sort by magnitude.
Then I could have the scope pointed at items for a given Constellation and then move on to another one.
(2019-01-16, 11:22 PM)dw_Skyhound Wrote: You probably don't use the "Begin", "Optimum", and "End" projected times from the observation list?
Those would seem to only apply to a given night.
So if you create a list for the whole month - I'm guessing you ignore those?

Please allow me to jump in and point out that although an observing list might be meant for an entire month, when you want to observe there is no way around planning for a given night. That's just how astronomy works! So once you decide to observe, say, tonight, set the Nightly Planner to tonight and then use the information it gives you to decide which objects to observe (filters) and when to observe each one (begin, end, optimum time columns).

It would seem to me that you would benefit greatly from reading the Starter Edition users guide:
Clear skies,

SkyTools Developer
(2019-01-16, 11:27 PM)theskyhound Wrote: Thanks Greg,
That user manual is 500+ pages....I think that will take a little time to read completely through.
That and testing different functions, I'm feeling more confident about discovering how the software works.
Hi dw_Skyhound,

When my ST3 Pro version starts, it sets itself for the current evening & uses the observing list that was active the last time it was shut down. I generally sort the observing list on the 'Begin' column to bring up the objects best suited for early evening (twilight for some planets) viewing. You can use the object filters to display objects in a selected constellation and/or of a selected type ( planets, comets, globulars, etc.). If you restrict the observing time by sliding the red vertical lines on the night bar, ST3 will reduce the observable objects. I usually leave the bars set to the extreme ends of the Night Bar window so no objects get filtered out that way.

I don't print the lists. I just use ST3 to list the available objects each night. I you want to get fancy, you can set the filters to display a subset of an observing list, use the 'Check' column to put check marks on the down-selected objects, then use 'Copy Checked' to copy the checked objects to a new list. Finally you can apply a sort to your new sub-list. I don't go to that much trouble personally.

If I were going to print anything, it would be finder charts to take to the telescope. The 13" dobsonian is 'full manual'  Smile . Before SkyTools I used Uranometria 2000 & The Falkauer Atlas - also 'full manual'.

I hope this helps, Greg is right SkyTools really simplifies observing,

Phil S.

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