HAS Texas 45 FAQs

HAS Texas 45 FAQs

Postby rene-gedaly » Sun Jan 20, 2013 3:59 pm

Running list of frequently asked questions

Q: What's the easiest, fastest way to work through the Texas 45?

A: Get yourself a copy of Turn Left at Orion, 4th ed. by Guy Consolmagno, less than $22 on Amazon. Then use one of the Go-To scopes in the Observatory. Or your own. And plan your outings for 3rd quarter moon. If that's a wash, try again during Prime Night Weekend. The easier objects are forgiving of moon glow.

Q: I want to use SkyTools to keep track of my observed objects, but have logged many of these same objects at home or at other star parties. How do I keep track of new observations I'm doing specifically for the Texas 45?

A detailed procedure is included as a separate topic in this forum: http://www.astronomyhouston.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=349

Note: First keep a separate, paper log or your own digital file of your observations as back up.

A1: Create a new observer for your TX 45 project. Create a new observer for each new observing project.

For example, I created Rene - TX45 as the observer to use when I'm working on the Texas 45. When I open the SkyTools Nightly Planner, I select the observer that corresponds to the project I'm working on that night, just as I would select the observing location and telescope I'm using.

When it comes time to print logs, say to submit observations for an Astronomical League observing program, select the observer name of the corresponding project so that only the log entries for the selected observer appear in the output. If you've been using SkyTools, you know you can rack up quite a few log entries for a single object. This approach can help keep things straight.

Here are a few screen shots to give an overview of the approach.

The first shot shows the last step of how to add a new observer. First locate the observer icon on the Nightly Planner. If you've never customized this option, it probably reads New Observer. Click the New Observer icon and in the window that appears, type over New Observer with the name of your project, in this case Rene - TX45. If you have customized this before, click the Add button to get a new New Observer, and as above, type the name of your new project.

ST3 NewObserver.JPG

In this next shot, the Nightly Planner shows I was observing on June 30, 2013, in Galveston, Texas, using a 4" Meade SCT, and the observer is Rene - Messier. Guess I was working on the Astronomical League's Messier program that night.

ST3 Rene Messier.JPG

To print or copy the log files, click the Log Book icon on the Nightly Planner. From the Log Browser, select the Observer tab, and then select the desired observer, in this case Rene - Galveston (yet another project), and click the Print/Copy button. Then select Matching log entries in browser object list, and from there, click Copy. The output is held in the clipboard and you can paste the results in Excel or Word, for instance.


A2: Alternatively, use the red check marks in the observation status column of the list. Unless you've hidden this column from view, it appears as the second column of the list. Or, try the approach given in A1 above for a way to separate multiple log entries for the same object by creating a new observer for each observing project.

Q: What do the abbreviations mean in the 1st column of the object list?

A: Cls object class; Con constellation; Doub double star; DVar double and variable star; Gal galaxy; Glob globular star cluster; Neb diffuse nebula; Open open star cluster; PNe planetary nebula; Star star; Var variable star.

Q: What does the seeing column mean on the observation log? What value do I put?

A:Seeing is a measure of how stable the air is, not only on the ground but throughout the atmosphere. To check the astronomical seeing forecast, see the Clear Sky Chart on astronomyhouston.org. Values range from 1=Poor to 5=Excellent.

Q: What do I put in field Obs. site log date & number of the observation log?

A: Put the date and log # of Bob’s observing site log report, aka pad log, here. Bob's pad logs. Don't think I'll ever forget to fill out another one again.

Q: What do I put in the description field of the observation log?

A: As you become more experienced, your description of objects will become more nuanced. But to begin, note how many stars you can see in an open cluster, for instance, or the colors you see in a double star system.

Q: I want to bring a few buddies with me to observe who are not members. Can they participate with me in the HAS Texas 45?

A: The HAS Texas 45 is a benefit of membership in the Houston Astronomical Society so encourage your friends to join. But yes, they can observe with you as your guest in keeping with current observatory committee policy. If they complete the program, they may be charged a guest fee to cover cost of the pin and certificate.
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Rene Gedaly
Membership, Observatory Trainer, Texas 45-V, WSIG
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