Observatory 2.0.8

When launching Observatory on macOS 11 Big Sur, macOS 12 Monterey or macOS 13 Ventura with the setting “Reopen library windows when launching” enabled, Observatory will restore the library window to its last state. This stopped working in macOS 14 Sonoma. Observatory 2.0.8, now available on the Mac App Store, fixes this, and I took the opportunity to further enhance this feature so more library settings are restored. If you encounter any issue with this feature upon first launching Observatory after this update, please close and reopen the library window, to reset it to its default state.

Another improvement in Observatory 2.0.8 is with the image filtering by object name and tags from the toolbar. Observatory now also looks for the normalized variant of the input in this toolbar search field. So, entering “M1” will search for both “M1” and “M 1”. This works in conjunction with another enhancement: the object identifier of an image is now normalized during importing. So if a FITS header contains “M1”, it will be stored as “M 1” in the library.

Background Tasks Warning

Lastly, Observatory now displays a warning before quitting the application if it is importing, plate solving or downloading images. This was already implemented for when you would explicitly close a library window, but if you selected “Quit Observatory” with “Reopen library windows when launching” enabled, it would ignore that.

Release notes.

Observatory 2.0.7

In this latest update to Observatory the search field in the toolbar collapses into a button to make room for other items, and it can be used to filter images by the value of their object name attribute. Another change is that images can be sorted by many more fields. Added were sensor temperature, focal length, aperture diameter, azimuth, altitude, album, source folder path, and telescope/camera/guider/observer/observatory name.

A behavioral change of the Quick Look extension is that it now skips the automatic debayering of an image if it is a bias, dark or flat calibration frame. And when importing images you may notice that the FITS HISTORY headers are not added to notes anymore. To see the contents of these headers just choose Image ▸ Show Master FITS Header (⌥⌘I). A description of other changes and bug fixes can be found in the release notes.

Observatory 2.0.6

In addition to having more control over CPU/GPU/RAM usage, another reason for introducing the manual CPU core allocation setting in 2.0.5 was to get some additional feedback regarding a pesky import bug that has been affecting a few users. Observatory appeared to be leaking an enormous amount of memory during importing for them, or create many threads. This could lead to a crash or even require a complete reboot. Sometimes the import would stall without the user interface actually being frozen.

Both issues were caused by the same bug. It has been fixed in Observatory 2.0.6.

Release notes.

Observatory 2.0.5

Observatory 2.0.5 is a bit more conservative with the amount of images it imports simultaneously. Depending on your hardware this change may result in slightly reduced import performance, while RAM usage is roughly halved. Observatory now also allows you to override this automatic concurrency behavior for importing and image processing. You can lower the CPU core allocation manually in the settings if you want to reduce Observatory’s CPU, GPU and RAM usage, or increase it if you want to push your system to its limits.

Another new setting is related to Observatory’s document versioning. This is the feature that lets you restore a library to a previous state. Observatory 2.0.5 allows you to disable it.

The Quick Look extension has improved XISF metadata support and takes the image dimensions into account when opening its window.

More changes are listed in the release notes.

Observatory 2.0.4

Observatory 2.0.4 has been released to the Mac App Store.

It adds a neat little feature to show the total integration time when selecting multiple images or stacks. Just select them and it is shown in the Overview Inspector, skipping rejected images for this computation.

The toolbar has been reorganized a bit to make it look better on large displays, and a new menu item View ▸ Canvas ▸ Show Canvas Header was added to display the image name in the new canvas header.

If you’re into Spotlight, you’ll like that it now indexes the SWCREATE and equivalent FITS keyword, and makes it available as the Content Creator search attribute in Spotlight.

Check out the release notes for the complete list of enhancements.