(cba:news) comp stars, software, and such

Jonathan Kemp jk at cbastro.org
Sun Nov 24 01:59:48 EST 2002

Hi CBAers,

Regarding the selection of comp stars and the general process of becoming
acquainted with a field, I highly recommend use of the Aladin Interactive
Sky Atlas which is produced by the CDS in Strasbourg, France.  A
Java-based application that can be run via the web or downloaded and run
in a stand-alone manner on an internet-connected machine, Aladin allows
you to overlay digitized sky images from various surveys with names and
data for objects from a wide variety of catalogs.  For example, you can
plot a DSS image of a CV field with all the GSC and Tycho stars and get
their IDs, calculate the distance on an image from one's variable to one's
comparison star, or overlay nearby USNO stars to get a very rough color
from red and blue magnitudes from the A2.0 catalog.  There are seemingly
infinite uses for and possibilities with this software tool, and I often
use it to find and check comparison stars when I observe CVs.  More info
on Aladin can be found at http://aladin.u-strasbg.fr/ .

Also, a while back there was some discussion about keeping accurate time
when operating a telescope and collecting data.  While I generally collect
CV data in the Unix/Linux world, there are several tools for the Windows
platform that allow automatic and periodic synchronization of your PC
clock, many of which are free.  Once upon a time David Harvey recommended
using a program called SocketWatch which is shareware, can be registered
for a small fee, and is produced by a company called RoboMagic.  I've had
good luck with this and a slew of other tools produced by the same company
that produces SocketWatch, including WetSock, DayToday, and MoonPhase.
They are small and simple programs that can synchronize your PC clock,
show weather info in your system tray, show the day and date in your
system tray (especially useful if your system is on UT to avoid
confusion), and show the age and phases of the moon in your system tray,
respectively.  There are many companies that produce tools like each of
these, but I've found this one single small outfit produces several useful
tools that I have registered and frequently use myself on the Windows
partition of my PC.  More info can be found at http://www.robomagic.com/ .


CBA Hilo

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