Wednesday, November 08, 2017

checking visibility

A couple of days ago, Nick posted on the RASC TC forum that he was looking for the maths or an online tool to help determine the visibility of a object in the night sky.

I immediately thought of SkyTools: this is what it does. On the Night Bar, you can immediately gauge the visibility of a target object. If low in a given evening, the Year Bar I find very useful, despite the author Greg downplaying it. Alas, the app is expensive and not on the web. I also recalled the Stellarium now has visibility features although I have not explored them very much. Again, not available online. I recalled seeing some web-based resources...

The first member that jumped in talked about using planetarium software. He focused on planets (not sure why) and their opposition times. He also mentioned that The Sky This Month (TSTM) talks at RASC meetings reminded attendees of visible constellations for the time period.

Another member suggested SkyTools. Didn't mention the free version, trial versions, or the cost for the Standard or Pro editions.

visibility tool input screen

I suggested the online calculator at Max-Planck-Institut für Kernphysik (MPIK). I did provide a caution: The drop-down for dates stops at 2012 but in the date controls below you can specify the start (d, m, y) and duration.

visibility tool output screen

I did a test with NGC 5466 from Halifax. It works really well. Great for one-off searches.


Follow-up on 12 Nov.

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