Along the left edge of Observatory’s window is the collapsable Sidebar. The Sidebar lists the image collections in the Library Navigator along with the Preview and Source Folder panes. Near the bottom of the Sidebar, you’ll also find a Search field that makes it easy for you to sift through your collections and find the information you’re looking for.
The Sidebar is open by default, but you can hide and show it again by choosing View ▸ Sidebar ▸ Hide/Show Sidebar (
⌘0), or by clicking the Sidebar button in the toolbar.
If you mouse over the right edge of the Sidebar, you’ll notice that the mouse pointer changes to a resizing handle. Click and drag the resizing handle to resize the Sidebar.
The upper half of the Sidebar displays the image collections in your library in a scrollable pane. These collections consist of Folders, Albums and Smart Albums:
An Album is a type of container in the Observatory library document that may contain images and stacks of images.
If you select an Album in the Library Navigator while the Browser is visible, you will see it display all images of that album. The Browser may apply some rules to what is exactly shown, e.g. only those images that have not been manually rejected, or only certain calibration images, but what is displayed are images of the selected album only. Albums cannot be nested.
A Smart Album is a dynamic album used to organize images by gathering them based on search criteria. For example, every Observatory library automatically contains a Smart Album named “Globular Clusters”. It returns all images that contain the tag
GC. You can also create your own Smart Albums, e.g. to return all images of Planetary Nebulae that were taken through an Ha filter and exposed for at least 20 minutes. Smart albums cannot be nested.
A Folder is a type of container in the Observatory library that is used to organize albums and smart albums. Folders can be nested. If you select a Folder in the Library Navigator while the Browser is visible, it will display all images of all albums and smart albums in that folder and its subfolders, after applying the above mentioned rules.
In this Library Navigator, items with children have a disclosure triangle on the left edge. To view the children, click the disclosure triangle to flip open the list. Option-click a disclosure triangle to open or close all of the items within.
The Library Navigator is organized in three parts:
At the top, All Images represents all images in your library. If you select it while the Browser is visible, you will see it display all images in your library. Once again the Browser may apply some rules to what is exactly shown, but it will do so for the images of all your albums combined, except those that are archived or in the trash.
The collapsible Library group of the Library Navigator contains predefined Folders, Albums, Smart Albums and other special system generated collections:
You should try to organize your images in albums by using Image ▸ Add to Album or Image ▸ Add to New Album. This makes it easier to find them back later. In addition, some features of Observatory, like Stacking, are only available to filed images.
If the library contains any images that are not part of any album, an Unfiled item appears in the Library Navigator, containing all these images.
The Calibration folder is used by the Calibrate Layer Adjustment. It contains your master calibration images organized in three subfolders: Master Bias, Master Dark and Master Flat. Each of these three subfolders contains Smart Album “Other” and a single Album: Bias Calibration, Dark Calibration and Flat Calibration, respectively.
You can add a master calibration image to one of these three Albums by choosing Image ▸ Add to Album. Unless the image is Unfiled, a duplicate of the image will then be added to the selected Album, with its Image Type forced to “MasterBias“, ”MasterDark“ or ”MasterFlat" respectively.
Before adding images to these Calibration Albums, make sure that their exposure date, CCD temperature, exposure duration and filter name have been set correctly. This information is used for listing them in the popup menus of the Calibrate Layer Adjustment. For example, if you add a Calibrate Layer Adjustment to an image that was taken with a CCD temperature of –25℃, the popup menus will only list calibration images that were taken at a temperature between at –25.5℃ and –24.5℃.
The “Other” Smart Albums of the Calibration subfolders contain all images that have their Image Type set to “MasterBias“, ”MasterDark“ or ”MasterFlat" respectively, but which are not in the corresponding Calibration Album.
The Recent Import folder contains Smart Albums for displaying all Today’s imports, Yesterday’s imports, all imports of the current week, as well as one for all imports of the current month.
If you mark one of your own collections as a favorite by choosing Collection ▸ Add To Favorites, it will be added to this item in the Library Navigator. All the collection’s images will implicitly be marked as favorite, including those you will add later. If you wish to mark a single image as favorite, you should choose Image ▸ Add To Favorites instead. For images that are not part of any album, an Unfiled item will appear in the Library Navigator.
When you archive one of your collections by choosing Collection ▸ Move to Archive, it will disappear from the Collections section of the Library Navigator, it stops being discoverable using the Library Navigator search field and makes it invisible to Smart Albums. All archived collections can be found under the Archive item.
Archived collections are not implicitly locked, and can be used like any other collection. They cannot be marked as Favorite though. To unarchive a collection, select it and choose Collection ▸ Put Back.
When you choose the Collection ▸ Move to Trash or Image ▸ Move to Trash menu items, the collections and images are not permanently removed from the library right away. You can still restore them by choosing Collection ▸ Put Back or Image ▸ Put Back. They are only permanently removed if you choose File ▸ Empty Trash…. For images that are not part of any album when you move them to the trash, an Unfiled item will appear in the Library Navigator.
You can collapse the Library group by clicking the word “Hide”, which will appear at its right hand side if you move the cursor over it.
The collapsible Collections group in the Library Navigator contains all the folders, albums and smart albums that you create yourself. When you first create a library, one folder is created for you:
The Objects folder contains a large number of default Smart Albums, organized in Folders. Each of them is a filter for a specific tag:
|Smart Album Name||Tag|
You can use these tags with your own images to make them discoverable in your library. For images that are Matched, i.e., images for which Observatory can relate image pixels to sky coordinates, Observatory adds some of these tags automatically. The Objects folder is initially locked, but you can modify its contents in any way you want by unlocking it.
You create a new album by choosing Collection ▸ New Album. Alternatively, you can select a few images, and choose Image ▸ Add to New Album. Albums you create can be moved around and into folders, which can be created by choosing Collection ▸ New Folder. You can also drop an Album onto another Album, in which case they will be merged. To create a Smart Album, choose Collection ▸ New Smart Album.
The Library Navigator’s contextual menu, displayed by holding the
Control key while clicking, provides quick access to these and other handy menu commands.
You can accentuate a collection in the Library Navigator by assigning a color label to it with the Collection Inspector. There you can also add Tags, assign a Rating or Status to it. In addition, you can add notes and attachments to your own collections. When you do not want any further modifications to a collection, lock it by choosing Collection ▸ Lock, or use the lock button in the Collection Inspector.
Sometimes you may have created a library for which you are not interested in certain default collections. For example, if your library only contains fully calibrated images, you may never even use the Calibration folders. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the ability to hide them? Well you can, by selecting the collection in the Library Navigator, and choosing Collection ▸ Hide Folder. Similarly you can hide Albums and Smart Albums.
To temporarily show the hidden collections, choose Collection ▸ Show Hidden. The ones that are marked as hidden will be shown with a gray font. You can permanently show them once again by choosing Collection ▸ Unhide Folder, or the equivalent for Albums and Smart Albums.
If you have many collections in your library, you might need some help finding the one you are looking for.
At the bottom of the Library Navigator, you’ll see a search field with a little magnifying glass icon in it. After you have clicked it, the Library Navigator will display only those collections that match the search criteria with every character you type . You can search by collection Name, Tag or Status. Or you can search for any of them, which is the default.
To clear the search field, press Escape or click the little Clear search button at its right edge. When you’ve finished searching, the Library Navigator reverts back to its former state of showing you everything.
Near the bottom of the Sidebar, below the Library Navigator, is the Preview panel. It has a disclosure button at its left which, when clicked, reveals and hides the panel. The click area actually covers the whole panel’s title bar, so you don’t have to be too accurate when clicking. Alternatively you can choose View ▸ Sidebar ▸ Show/Hide Preview.
If you are using the Virtual Observatory, and select a search result that is marked with a ● symbol, revealing the Preview panel will have it automatically download a preview image and display it. Likewise, if you select an image in the Browser, the Preview panel will contain a small preview of that image. This is especially useful if you are using the List Browser.
If you want to have a closer look at a preview image, just move the cursor over it and click the Quick Look button that appears. This is especially useful for Virtual Observatory previews, since they are not restricted in size.
You can use the Quick Look window to open the preview image in other applications, for example the Preview application. If you wish to keep it or modify it, please Duplicate it first, because the original preview image may be removed while you use Observatory.
At the bottom of the Sidebar, the Source Folder panel is located. It has a disclosure button at its left which, when clicked, reveals and hides the panel. The click area actually covers the whole panel’s title bar, so you can click anywhere in it to show or hide the panel. Alternatively you can choose View ▸ Sidebar ▸ Show/Hide Source Folders.
A source folder represents a folder in the file system, outside of the Observatory library. Because the macOS Sandbox restricts access to the file system, it is up to you to explicitly give Observatory permission to access the folders in which your images reside, by choosing File ▸ Import ▸ Images… (⇧⌘I) or File ▸ Import ▸ Add Source Folder…. The Source Folder Panel keeps tracks of these folders. Neither these folders, nor their contents, is ever modified by Observatory.
If you choose File ▸ Import ▸ Add Source Folder…, the selected source folders, and optionally all their subfolders will be added to the Source Folder Panel. No images will be imported. Only the source folders are made available to Observatory. If you then choose File ▸ Import ▸ Images…, you will be able to select individual images in these source folders to import into Observatory.
If you skip the File ▸ Import ▸ Add Source Folder… step and choose File ▸ Import ▸ Images… directly, your selected source folders will also be added, and optionally all their subfolders, but also all their images will be imported. So importing images can be done in a single step, but that has the restriction that you will not be able to select specific images for importing.
You can make Observatory unaware of a previously added Source Folder by choosing File ▸ Import ▸ Remove Source Folder…. Be aware that the images in your library that originate from that Source Folder will also be removed, without moving them to Trash first. Your master images in the file system will not be affected of course.
The Source Folder Panel action popup menu provides quick access to these and other handy menu commands.