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SkyTools 4.0h Update Notes
#11
Ok... I'll get some screen shots for you per your instructions, hopefully tonight.  Should I email them to you or post them here?
Bill
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#12
Hi Greg,


Here are some of the screen shots you requested.  I used a bright star list that I had in my collection of observing lists.

Best Now – July 19, 2020 at 21:46, about 10 minutes before the end of astronomical twilight.



   



Sky Tour – At 21:46 ten out of eleven of the objects shown in the list are not included on the Best Now list.  The first entry, Regulus, is on the Best Now list but is currently at an altitude of 5 degrees.



   


Nightly Planner – Night of July 19, 2020.  At 21:46 Altair is observable at +35.5 degrees altitude but has not made the "Best Now" cut.


   


Best Now – July 19, 2020 at 22:25.


   


Nightly Planner – Night of July 19, 2020.  Arcturus is at altitude +53 degrees at 22:26



   

I understand your desire to only show objects on the Real Time Observing Tab that are at their best.  I'm also a big proponent of this and always try to observe objects when they are at their very best.  I spend a lot of time on or near the meridian and wait for the objects to come to me.  However things like sky conditions, weather, time constraints, etc can change and may alter observing priorities over the course of a night and cause me to make adjustments.  With ST3 I could show my whole observing list and review the real time status of all the objects on the list.  Based on this information I could then make adjustments to my priorities in real time.  With ST4 I can use the Nightly Planner for this but it does not show me the current HA, altitude, observing difficulty, etc. of the objects on the observing list to make these decisions.  Please believe me that I'm not trying to circumvent the Best Now feature, just wish the Real Time Observing was a little more flexible to help answer questions I may have about the objects on my observing list during the course of the night.

Regards,
Bill
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#13
Hi,

You switched things up on me there. We were talking about deep sky objects when I said the objects had to be detectable to be displayed. But what you have posted are stars. Stars are handled differently. These are stars for an alignment, which we already talked about as a special case! So this particular list is not all that useful to pick apart.

But going with what you posted, the main reason people look at stars is to view a double-star pair. Most of your alignment stars are doubles. When viewing a double star pair, steady seeing is essential. The seeing is strongly affected by the altitude of the object. SkyTools looks at the pair and your optics on a case by case basis when it makes these determinations, but we can generalize. For excellent seeing you can go a lot closer to the horizon before everything is a blur and you are wasting your time. For average seeing, as you have selected, you need to stay away from the horizon. It's not good enough to just be able to see an object. As you note, we want a quality view. If you look at the quality for the stars you have selected, it is extremely poor at the time when they are filtered out. It is the quality that "Best Now" is looking at for the current time. Yes, you can technically see Arcturus, but given what you have told SkyTools about the seeing and other weather conditions it is going to be a big blurry blob near the horizon. So that is the equivalent of "don't bother."

I had anticipated screen captures of the deep sky list that you described that included the Veil nebula. From what you described it sounded like it should have been observable, but I suspect in fact that there was some reason that it was not. If, for instance, it is challenging in your telescope under your seeing, temperature, and humidity conditions, it may have to be high in the sky in order to be able to detect it. Without more information all I can do is speculate. But what I can tell you is that provided that you have correct information for your telescope, eyepieces, location, sky brightness, seeing, and weather conditions, then if an object is not listed there is a very good reason for it not to be. The Best Now does not list objects that are only at their best. It lists all objects that are "observable in a meaningful way" and then sorts the best objects to observe right now to the top.
Clear skies,
Greg

Technoking of Skyhound
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#14
Hi Greg,

Sorry, when you said "The Best Now list shows all objects that are observable at that time, unless you specifically filter them out."  I thought the bright star list was a better example since it had a number of objects that were clearly observable at the time but not on the "Best Now" list.  Here is the deep sky list.

Best Now - July  19, 2020 at 22:51
   

Sky Tour - July 19, 2020 at 22:52 (It shows a couple of objects with a difficulty rating of apparent but I assume the altitudes shown in the list are not for the current time)
   

Nightly Planner - Night of July 19, 2020
   

Anyway, what I understand from you now is that objects will not show up on the Real Time Observing list unless they are considered "observable in a meaningful way" per the algorithm used for "Best Now".   One important lesson I have learned is that you must be real careful in getting all the location and telescope data (like sky brightness, seeing, weather conditions, etc) entered correctly or objects may not appear correctly on the list.  So at least I have learned more about ST4 in the process and what to expect and not expect from it.  I need to get used to not being able to to do the things I used to do in ST3 Real Time like sort on columns, look at the complete observing list, current HA, altitude, azimuth, etc. of the objects on the observing list.  Most of these I can accomplish by switching back to Nightly Planner.

Thanks for looking at this and begin patient with me,
Bill
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#15
Hi Bill,

Thanks for the additional info! I am unable to explain why the Veil isn't showing up on Real Time earlier in the evening. The code is very complex, and I suspect that there may be a feature that where there is some sort of limitation having to do with being substantially below best visibility. Or it could be a bug, or maybe something needs tweaking. I will look into it.
Clear skies,
Greg

Technoking of Skyhound
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