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Tag: Aladin

When to, what to – photograph

a year of the Lagoon nebula, observed from a forgotten corner of Transylvania

You may already know my astronomy catalog search engine, the DSO. It includes all the catalogs we amateurs use: the Messier, Caldwell, NGC, IC, Arp, SH2, Collinder, Melotte, Abell planetaries, it even grabs the list of exoplanets from a wiki page to always be up to date. But this is not all. It includes some ugly formulae to know about the position of the Sun and the Moon, and do some math based on  the geolocation of the user. The DSO however is more like a text mode tool, or an API. It is good to just look up what Messier 51 or NGC 7000 is. Anything more complex requires some heavy wizardry even I don’t master and need to look up in the help I fortunately did write.



My photo planner

a print from my planner

A few month back I ran into problems trying to identify certain deep sky objects that showed up on my pictures. Stellarium – although I like it – is good at searching for known objects, and not by coordinate search, and I cannot script it the way I want. is also a very useful tool, but it does not have all the objects I grew able to image. I built my own deep sky database, a strong search tool, but that one is a search tool only with no visual sky, although I linked it to Aladin Lite. Aladin and Simbad – I like them, but they lack an easy coordinate search – and I really mean easy when I say so. Obviously, Aladin and Simbad are mainly for professionals, I guess. Stellarium has a photo planning feature, but – even though it can show Aladin’s sky, still no button by default -, it doesn’t fit my hands. So I felt like everything I need is out there somewhere, but the dots are just not connected.

I wanted to have all my knowledge at my fingertips, everywhere, and finally to have a robust output, that doesn’t fail when going offline: paper. Needless to say, my thoughts converged towards a website.

So I wrote my own photo planner, based on the Aladin Lite API and my DSO search engine and Simbad’s coordinate search.



Jól kalibrált monitoron mindegyik számnál elkülönülő árnyalat látszik. Ha mégsem látszanak, akkor a megjelenített képek színhiányosan rajzolódnak ki. A monitort valószínűleg kalibrálni kell.

You should see distinct shades for each number. If those shades are not clearly visible, the displayed pictures will lack accuracy. Your display most likely needs to be calibrated (brightness, gamma, contrast etc.).