Sunday, June 20, 2021

more errors in SkySafari

While working through the first returned Double Stars observing certificate log book, I was comparing the observer's sketches to simulated fields in SkyTools. The observer indicated she used SkySafaari to help her with finding targets and identifying stars. However, a couple of times she was confused.

I've known of errors or issues with SkySafari but these comparisons brought a couple to light.

The first is a somewhat gross error. The target star in Cancer is HD 75646 also known as STTA 96 or CCDM 08520+2543.

incorrect reference to STTA 96

The catalogue reference of Struve 96 is wrong.

It should be Otto Struve Appendix A 96 or STTA 96 or OΣΣ 96.

Curious, Chris and I found that same problem in Stellarium...

It seems the programmers don't really understand how the Washington Double Star nomenclature works.

The way the magnitudes are shown is also kinda strange. The 10.60 refers to the C companion while 8.45 refers to B. SS does not identify the individual members by letter codes as per the WDS so the user really is tossed in the deep end.

Later, I checked HD 109556 aka STF1659 (Struve), a lovely multi-star system in Corvus. Normally tapping on or near a star shows the identifier.

truncated star name

Right away I saw it was wrong. The star is not HD 10958. They dropped a digit! That would be really confusing to the novice user and junior double star hunter.

That star is specifically HD 109584, the 6th component of the Σ1659 double star, i.e. the F star. 

By the way, the separate value of 208.2" is pretty good. SkyTools 4 Visual Pro shows 207.4" as of 2002. The WDS (via Stelle Doppie) shows 209.4". 

They could really use someone to vet their databases.

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