08 November 2013

Improvements to the Deep-Sky Planner Community

Some improvements appeared this week in the Deep-Sky Planner Licensed Users' Community at knightware.biz. The improvements appeared in the Observing Plan Library and the Equipment Library. The changes make viewing data more efficient.

The old library viewing pages allowed users to page through items in the library. Items were listed in alphabetical order, 10 items per page. The libraries have grown in size so that paging through the data was no longer a sufficient way to navigate the contents.

The new library viewing pages are much more suited to the number of items in the libraries. Now items in a library can be sorted, filtered and searched. Users can also set the number of items viewed per page so that there is far less paging through the library while looking for plans and equipment. For example, the Plan Library can be filtered for plans whose names contain the word 'binocular', or the plans can be sort by their upload date. These capabilities should make using the Plan Library much easier as it continues to grow in size.

Observing Plan Library web page

Speaking of Growth

The Deep-Sky Planner 6 Plan Library has grown to nearly 300 pre-built observing plans. There are plans related to observing books, star parties and organizations. There are also plans that accompany popular monthly magazines and online articles:
  • Binocular Universe (cloudynights.com): Plans that accompany Phil Harrington's monthly 'Binocular Universe' article on CloudyNights.com have been added to the Plan Library since December 2012. These plans hold a nice mix of objects for binocular observers every month.
  • Deep-Sky Tour (Sky At Night magazine): Plans that accompany Steve Richards' monthly 'Deep-Sky Tour' column in Sky At Night magazine have been added to the Library since December 2011. These plans contain objects appropriate for small telescope observers. The plan file also appears on the coverdisc CD that accompanies each issue, along with a version of the plan file for Argo Navis devices. They are located in the Software section of the CD.
  • New! Deep-Sky Wonders (Sky & Telescope magazine): Plans that accompany Sue French's monthly 'Deep-Sky Wonders' column in Sky & Telescope magazine are being added to the Plan Library starting December 2013. These plans contain objects appropriate for medium to large sized telescopes every month.

These plans are very handy to use when you are working through an observing list in a magazine or a book, or you haven't had time to prepare a custom plan of your own. They can also be viewed by licensed users with a web browser on any mobile device directly from the Plan Library.