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Corrupted Minor Planet Database During Monthly Update
#1
Hi Greg,

I started ST4i V4.0e this morning & it began to update the 3 'Current' databases. The program displayed the splash screen for >30 min while updating the Minor Planet Database just like it did during the updates for November. Again I got tired of waiting with the splash screen sitting in the middle of my display obscuring any other programs that I wanted to run. I used Task Manager to end the ST4i task. When I restarted ST4i later, the program started fine, but again the minor planet data got wiped. The attached screenshot appears to indicate that the data is there somewhere, but ST4i doesn't recognize it.

The Interactive Atlas opens fine this time, but reports that there are no minor planets at the current epoch. I guess that I need to do another download from ASTORB.

I wouldn't mind the time needed to update the minor planets every month if the splash screen didn't sit in the middle of my display & prevent use of other programs while ST4i updated the minor planets. Is there a way to disable the splash screen during startup? I searched the Help for 'splash screen', but got no hits.

As the screen shot shows, I have over 500k minor planets in the database & they require some time for processing (even more since Win update blessed me with the more inefficient Win10 v1909).

TIA,

Phil S.


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#2
Hi Phil,

It should not normally take that long to update, even with all of the minor planets downloaded. It's just adding some new orbits (as necessary) for some bright minor planets. So I don't really understand what is going wrong, unless perhaps this is a very slow machine.

To solve the problem with your database:

1. Delete any target lists with minor planets in it that aren't currently in use (especially any in the auto created folder).
2. Use the Cleanup/Delete button on the Minor Planets Database dialog to delete as many minor planets as possible (recall the bold ones are in use and can't be deleted)
3. Download minor planets as needed

I suggest opening Manage Subscriptions (Setup menu) and disabling the minor planet update. That will stop it from automatically updating the Bright and Interesting Minor Planets target list when you start up.

You can always temporarily enable it later and then press Update Now to download it, then disable it again. Or don't bother if you don't use that list anyhow.

Since you appear to be a heavy minor planet observer, it is a good idea to download the minor planets from MPCORB or ASTORB before you do any Minor Planet observing to freshen up your database.
Clear skies,
Greg

SkyTools Developer
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#3
Hi Greg,

The machine has an AMD FX-8350 processor. While it's almost 6 yrs old, it has 8 logical processors & used to run the minor planet updates in a few seconds when it ran Win 10 V1803. About 6 weeks ago my Windows 10 got updated to V1903 & things slowed noticeably. The Task Manager shows >220 processes running where under V1803 it only ran ~150 processes. A couple weeks ago I was blessed with Win10 V1909, but there was no speed improvement over V1903.

The machine was also running an anti-malware scan when I started ST4i today & that uses the SSD quite a bit. Still, according to the 'Resource Monitor' in Win10, the SSD was only using ~2% of capacity while ST4i used it normal 12% of CPU time during heavy computations (the equivalent of one of the eight logical processors).

When the same thing happened in November, I deleted Nov 2019 epoch minor planets & downloaded the Numbered list from ASTORB. The machine took ~15 - 20 minutes to process all 550k minor planets. I don't know if that's considered fast or not.

Since I don't have any minor planets in the database anymore (per the attached screen shot above), I'll download the data from ASTORB tomorrow & see what happens.

Thanks for your help,

Phil S.
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#4
Make sure you follow my instructions about deleting the ones you can first...
Clear skies,
Greg

SkyTools Developer
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#5
Something similar happens to me on my Win 10 Desktop and Win 10 Notebook. The Minor Planet Updates splash screen just "hangs" and does not close so ST4 does not launch.

When I terminate the program via Tak Manager (CTRL ALT DEL) and then re-launch ST4 it runs normally and goes through all the Current Updates and then ST4 launches.

This happens on both desktop and notebook PC's.

It look as if the 1st time through "something goes wrong" and then after terminating that attempt via Task manager, ST4 behaves as normal when I re-launch it.

Cheers

Dennis

EDIT: I just launched ST4 on my Win 10 Desktop PC and did not encounter this problem. ST4 launched responsively and as expected.
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#6
How long did you wait? Under some conditions it may be rebuilding your minor planets database at startup, which could take a long time, depending on how many minor planets you have.
Clear skies,
Greg

SkyTools Developer
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#7
Hi Greg

This "hanging" has been happening for the last couple of weeks and from memory, the longest time I would have waited was around 5 minutes before invoking the Task Manager.

However, I just tried again this morning (I power off my Win 10 desktop PC overnight) and ST4 performed a nice clean start with no issues, so it looks like this is no longer an issue for my desktop installation. I will try on my Win 10 Pro Notebook later today and see if the problem still occurs on that installation and report back.

Generally, I get 48 Mbps from my ISP when downloading files.

Cheers

Dennis
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#8
(2019-12-23, 11:15 PM)Dennis Wrote: Hi Greg

This "hanging" has been happening for the last couple of weeks and from memory, the longest time I would have waited was around 5 minutes before invoking the Task Manager.

However, I just tried again this morning (I power off my Win 10 desktop PC overnight) and ST4 performed a nice clean start with no issues, so it looks like this is no longer an issue for my desktop installation. I will try on my Win 10 Pro Notebook later today and see if the problem still occurs on that installation and report back.

Generally, I get 48 Mbps from my ISP when downloading files.

Cheers

Dennis

To be honest with you, if you interrupted it when it was working on updating the minor planet database (and we don't actually know that's what happened) then was likely corrupted, and you will have problems. One day down the road a chart will crash when a minor planet is drawn, a list with a minor planet will fail... and most likely the next time the minor planets are updated, it will hang again.
Clear skies,
Greg

SkyTools Developer
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#9
Hi Greg
 
I deleted the “Current MP List” via the Target List and also the MP Database via the “Cleanup / Delete” Button in the Minor Planet Database Panel and then Imported the Current MP List.
 
When I launched ST4, the Update Splash Panel displayed and it quickly ran through the updates to the Comets and Nova Target Lists, but took over 30 mins to update the MP List.
 
After closing ST4 and then re-launching, all appeared normal.

It would be nice if the User could turn off this auto-update and manually choose to update the Current Lists as a separate action once ST4 has opened.

At the moment, when I launch ST4, the Splash Screen takes control of my display (I cannot even move it) and when a long update is taking place, I cannot really use the PC as if a Window opens behind the ST4 Splash Screen, I cannot access that Window until the ST4 update has completed.
 
Cheers
 
Dennis


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#10
Hi Dennis,

You can disable the automatic updates for the Current lists in ST4i. Click 'Setup'>'Manage Subscriptions' on the top menu & uncheck the box for Minor Planets. You'll need to perform the update yourself by clicking 'Update Now' button when you're ready to do the update. With the program already running you can minimize it during the update without having the Splash Screen sitting in the middle of your display.

I have the ASTORB 'Numbered' MPs downloaded on my desktop (541k MPs) & it takes a while to rebuild the database or whatever ST4i does when the MPs are updated. It only takes ~30 minutes to download & setup the whole MP database from scratch, so it's almost faster to go that route.

Phil S.
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