Thursday, April 07, 2016

made a list for Saturday

Upon Ian's suggestion, I built an observing list for the Saturday event. Did the usual SkyTools things on the John Repeat Dance computer... Updated the "current" list for the latest comet info. Made a new list under the star parties group. Looked at my big star party favourites list and, based on fairly strict criteria, copied things over. Added some red stars. Added some stars with exoplanets. Added Bode's and the Cigar galaxies, the Whirlpool, Messier 94 (M94), just in case.

Remembered that we were in an evening flyover phase for the International Space Station. Ooh. Might we get a dual pass?! And, as I reviewed my general astronomy what's up calendar, I noted that we're in another window to see zodiacal light from the solar system.

Of course, SkyTools 3 Pro does not directly support these types of events. At first I added the constellation Aries to the list. I've done the same thing before, put a constellation into the list to serve as a reminder to look in that area. But what about the ISS? Then I had an idea. Light bulb!

I recalled that a custom skymark could be arbitrarily named and included in an observing list. Between Triangulum and Andromeda, I added a skymark and called it "ISS flyover start 160409-2152." Then added it to the list. Ha! Now there would be no guesswork, with such a clearly labelled item. I promptly made another: "zodiacal light 160409-2045." What a great trick!

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