Re: [guide-user] Guide and _star_ trails

Ted Blank Apr 18, 2014

Hi Bill, 

Yep, tried that test as soon as I saw Clay's post.  On the little eee machine, no trails get made, not for planets or for stars, regardless of the alt-J setting.   So... I've ordered the 2GB memory upgrade for the 1001P machine, and I'll report back in a week or so when it arrives about whether it allows Guide to create planet trails or any other kind of trails.. unless someone has another idea in the meantime.  As I say, this feature works fine on all of my "normal sized" machines.

By the way, the pre-point capability of Guide is helping dozens of asteroid occultation observers increase our odds of success.  To quote from Scotty's web page:

[With Guide pre-point charts] now I can arrive anytime at any location in my deployment path, identify the UT time on the chart that shows me where I need to point, and I can star hop to that area. Then at precisely the event time I entered in Guide 8 to generate the track the target star will be centered at the event time I used. So here’s some of the rules of deployment I live by:

o   Never ever ever ever go straight to the target star, ALWAYS prepoint!

o   9 times out of 10 the target star is faint and/or located in an awkward star hopping point in the sky. Prepointing allows you to pick the most convenient time to aim the scope and to pick the brightest star near the most recognizable asterism (saves an INCREDIBLE amount of time, blood, sweat, tears, hair follicles, adds years to you life, takes years off your wife…. Yada yada you get the picture).

o   Starting at the target star instead of prepointing means that you have to stay on the target star, i.e. your polar aligning better be good (lotsa deployment time there), your motor drive better not have errors (lotsa $ there), and your batteries better last, even in the cold… (lotsa prayers there)!

o   Prepointing uses THE most accurate drive available to man… the Earth’s rotation.

I continue to be amazed at just how easy this makes it to be certain that the star targeted to be occulted by an asteroid will be in your field of view at the predicted time of the occultation.  I used to spend hours trying to hop to the exact faint star out in the field.  Now with pre-point capability I can (and have) set out as many as six unattended stations for the same occultation.  Each station is another cross-section of the asteroid, so my effectiveness is multiplied.  Scotty once put out 20 stations in a single night.

Last night I had a pre-point at 8:15pm that started at Aldebaran and went through several bright stars, and 2 minutes later I was done pre-pointing for a mag 9.5 star occultation at 9:48pm.  All I had to do was come out at 9:45 and start the video camera.  Reviewing my video after the predicted time, there was the correct mag 9.5 star drifting through the field exactly on time at 9:48.  I never could have star-hopped to it in the sparse field of dim stars where it resides.  (It was a miss, but that's ok - misses are important too.)

A big thanks, Bill, for adding this feature for us (and to Scotty for figuring it all out).

Ted Blank

On Fri, Apr 18, 2014 at 8:15 PM, Bill Gray <pluto@...> wrote:

Hi Clay, Ted,

> A star is NOT going to move in 5 minutes.

There's a bit of trickery going on here. You're right that, in
normal conditions, Guide only generates trails for solar system
objects. However, you can get Guide to show the "trails" stars
make in alt/az.

A while back, I had an inquiry from Scotty Degenhardt, who had
devised a rather nice scheme for observing occultations remotely.
He would go to a site and set up a telescope pointing at the piece
of the sky where the event would be some time later. To do that,
he needed to be able to make 'star trails', running along in RA
from the star being occulted.

Thus, if the star is at RA=03h14m, and is going to be occulted
in two hours and five minutes, you'd want to point the telescope at
RA=01h09m, leave the clock drive turned off, and wait for the earth's
rotation to bring the target star into view. Then you could drive
off, set up a second telescope half an hour later pointed at RA=01h39m,
and so forth.

With the "trail" running in RA, you can look along the trail for
bright stars and use them as reference points. That way, you can go
out in the field and say, "If I point my scope at star X, which is
bright and easy to find, and get it set up at such-and-such a time,
then I'll know that when the occultation occurs, the earth's rotation
will have put the occultation right in my field of view."

Scotty eventually got me to see what he was trying to do, and I made
the necessary modification to Guide (about a dozen lines of code). At
the time, I thought it unlikely that anybody but Scotty would be using
this feature, so I didn't document it, but I think he's passed the
word on to a few others in the occultation community; it's been more
useful than I'd envisioned.

If you hit Alt-J and enter 1 (as Ted described), you'll toggle Guide
to accept such objects as "trailable". Usually, if you right-click on
a star and try to add a trail, Guide will tell you to click on a moving
object (planet, satellite, asteroid, comet) first. But the Alt-J/1
step tells Guide that if you click on a star, a "trail" will be of the
sort I've just described.

Ted, I do think Clay makes a good point here :

> Try your animation feature on any planet to test it and you will see
> that it is working....or asteroid, comet, etc.

Having hit Alt-J/1 should still leave you able to generate trails for
solar system objects. If you do so, do you get trails? Is it only
stars that are currently un-trailed?

-- Bill