Author Topic: What to shoot and What did I shoot  (Read 742 times)


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What to shoot and What did I shoot
« on: December 29, 2020, 10:23:42 PM »
There are two wishes that I have been looking for software to help me resolve. First is a lightweight and fast fits viewer that I can use instead of firing up Pixinsight. Observatory jumped this hurdle with room to spare; I mean seriously, now I can just open Finder - genius. Now that I have Observatory I am looking at how to add it into my workflow; what I like so far is I can use it like a Lightroom image manager for astrophotography (Since I have APP, Pixinsight, and PS I am really not looking for something for pre or post processing). Which brings up my second wish for an astrophotography software program (bear with me, this might be crazy talk)-

I am struggling with an easy method to find what to shoot and what I’ve already shot. New to astrophotography, I initially opened a planetarium program and also star charts. They may be great for showing everything, but other than showing stars in constellations to get my bearings, I am looking for something that just shows astrophotography targets. 

So my current workflow for finding a target to shoot is to:
-look through Facebook forums to see what everyone is posting
-go to a “Tonight’s Best” listing to see when it is available
-look it up in a planetarium program to see it’s path for the night
-go outside and realize that it is probably too close to the moon and that I need a different target
-look north westward and think “I wonder if anything is over there”
-go back inside and restart the above procedure

What I would love:
-if Observatory had a “map” view like in Lightroom but with the following:
- A background of basic stars/constellations for orientation with the primary focus on astrophotography targets and with filters such as easy/high magnitude which would show those targets on the map color coded in maybe a green hollow eclipse (for galaxies), moderate/lower magnitude shown in yellow and difficult/very low magnitude outlined in red. Another possible filter would be Messier targets which have markers where all the Messier targets are located, etc
- Once you shoot that target (Observatory would know), the hollow green eclipse would turn to a solid green eclipse.  I would also be able to click on the solid eclipse (the eclipse could also turn into one of my pics when zoomed in- kinda like what SkySafari does but Observatory would use one of my pics) and it would show all of my pics of that target in filmstrip view along the bottom. If you double click it would change the user to the classic view mode.
- The beauty is once I click on “map”, at a glance know what I have shot and what is also available. So picture if your goal was to shoot all the Messier objects; instead of an excel spreadsheet listing them all, what date I shot them, and what folder each is in, etc, I click on the Messier filter and I can easily see which have been shot (filled in marker), how many are left (hollow marker), and which ones are in the current sky.
Props if anyone read this all the way through; I am partially venting because I can’t figure out how to do this with any other software (SkySafari I’m looking at you) and also because it seems like it could really fit into the flow of Observatory.

Sander Berents

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Re: What to shoot and What did I shoot
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2020, 04:42:14 PM »
When I was drawing up ideas for Observatory a few years ago, how I envisioned it was that the overlays would go beyond an image's boundaries, and you could zoom out an image nearly limitless and see where it was located in the sky. Because with plate solved images Observatory has the information to place all your other images at the correct location and orientation in this virtual sky, you would then be able to quickly jump to any other image.

It was slick imagination with a high cool factor, but I decided not to implement it as I thought it wasn't actually that useful.

What you describe is a lot more useful. I don't think we should turn Observatory into a full fledged observation planner or planetarium, but drawing a basic map where you can pan and zoom, have a magnitude slider, filters and indicators of what you imaged is a neat idea. Observatory knows a lot about your images, and I welcome ideas to do more with that information.

Something I always found intriguing is the opposite of your current workflow. What about helping you find targets that nobody else is imaging?
Sander Berents
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Re: What to shoot and What did I shoot
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2020, 07:46:41 PM »
Hey Sander, thanks for taking the time to read my longwinded post. I completely despise my current workflow, I feel I have no control over my imaging strategy. That is why I envisioned my previous post; a basic map with a bunch of targets labeled. Then, knowing the general region of the sky available that night, I could look around for available targets on the map. (Thinking of what Observatory has to offer) I’m envisioning I could then right click on a target and there would be an option to access the research information you have made available. That would be cool.

In the mean time I may just enlarge and print out a star chart and circle in sharpie a bunch of the easy/intermediate targets and then fill them in as I shoot them.

As far as finding targets that nobody is imaging, I’m guessing most of the images I’m finding on Facebook are the easiest targets to hit. Since I’m new to this I figure it is probably a good idea for me to stick with those for now. But once I get a bunch of the obvious targets under my belt, I definitely would like to wander off the beaten path for different and unusual targets.