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Ongoing problems wiith Comets at the Minor Planet Center
#1
Hello everyone,

I wanted to make everyone aware of the fact that, after a server failure in June, the Minor Planet Center has been struggling to update their comet database. New comets have not been added, and the orbits for exiting ones have not been updated. I am updating the SkyTools comet databases today. I have found other ways to update my own databases. For comets bright enough to be observed visually, there should be no problems as long as everyone updates their current lists, which will have the latest data.

For faint comets, particularly those that have been recently discovered, there may be some problems for those using SkyTools 4 imaging. These are comets that are not published in the Current Comets target list. In particular, since the Observable Comets from the MPC is no longer being updated, downloading it will not add new comets or update those that have been recently discovered. There are two solutions to this problem:

1. Open Comets from the top level Data menu. Select Download Single Comet. Type the designation of a comet that you want to update or add to your database. Close the dialog afterward.

2. I have already updated my own ST4 database, so if you would like the most recent comet data contact me, and I will create a Target List with these recently updated comets in it and make it available you. When you read this target list into ST4 the comet database will be updated.

Note: when you download the MPC Observable Comets in SkyTools 4 there is a small bug that will show that a few comets have been added and updated. This bug is harmless, but misleading. Don't believe the numbers if it says only a few comets have been added. It is likely that nothing has been added or updated. I will have a fix for this in the next update.

I will post here once the MPC has resolved their problems.
Clear skies,
Greg

SkyTools Developer
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