Ordering observations by azimuth

Forums Computing Ordering observations by azimuth

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    Dr Paul Leyland

    My scope and dome don’t always agree that well with each other, though the scope generally has a much firmer grasp on reality.  I’m tired of having to sweet-talk the dome into behaving itself after a large change in azimuth between observations.

    I know how to convert RA/Dec into alt/az at a specific time.  I also know that observation scheduling software exists which orders observations by one or more criteria.  Most (all?) robotic observatory control systems do the latter.

    What I don’t know is whether an application exists into which I could feed a starting time, list of positions of objects to be observed and a guesstimate of how long each would take.  Said application would then produce a schedule which minimizes movements in azimuth.  Doubtless I could write one but I’m lazy.

    |Anyone know of availability of such a beast?

    Thanks,   Paul

    Grant Privett

    Personally, I would go with mending the dome. Better solution long term.

    James Lancashire

    Which objects are you observing that need to zigzig round the sky?
    (Apart from possibly near horizon at dusk/dawn.)
    Why not just set the dome and observe as targets drift past?

    Dr Paul Leyland

    I intend to, but it’s as well as, not instead of.  IMO, it’s always a good idea to minimize mechanical wear and tear.

    Dr Paul Leyland

    Variables.  I spend a few minutes on one target, then perhaps 20 on another, then off to another.  Repeat for a few hours.

    Setting the dome and letting them drift is the essence of my request.  There are a few dozen eruptives in the BAA-VSS program.  In what order should I observe them on a given night so that they drift past the open slit which has been set to a particular azimuth?  Ordering by increasing RA is useful if the azimuth is 180 degrees and the declination is south of +28 degrees (my site is on La Palma at 28N) but many variables are at much higher declinations.  In practice my chart collection is ordered primarily by RA (in 30 minute zones) then by Dec, south to north.  I just flip pages in the binder and observe in order.  It’s not a bad solution, by and large, but neither is it a good one if the objects are at high Dec or far from the meridian.

    Of course, another approach would be to persuade the BAA-VSS to adopt some variables which barely rise from 52N.  Somehow, I think I may have difficulties with that one.  😉

    owen brazell

    Try using something like SkyTools that will generate a list that you than then order by azimuth or whatever. Theer are other planning applications out there as well that may/will also do this.


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