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DSO Image

Figure 15: DSO Image screen
Image dsoimage

This module shows object images (Figure [#fig:dso_image 15]). There is an internal image database that has an image for almost any Ngc object (7840 images). You could also add any number of images for your own user database objects:

  • add necessary number of [#additional_fields Image path] fields when creating a database (e.g. 3 Image path fields allow you to add maximum of 3 images for each object)
  • either add images to objects manually via [node9.html#view_database_menu_add_object Add object] Menu command
  • or [node9.html#view_database_menu_import import] the whole database from the text file[#foot1318 11]

This module could be called from context menu of [node4.html#observation_list_context Observations Lists], [node3.html#context_basic Object Selection] and [node9.html#view_database_context View Database], and by Image button from [node7.html#details_notes_btn Details Screen].

If there are several images for an object you could change them by flicking up the current image. Use pinch to zoom gesture to change image scale.

Global Search

Figure 16: Global Search screen (night mode)
Image globalsearch

''Global Search'' looks for specified string in all application object databases (in name fields), in note database (in name and content fields) and in star chart layers (in name fields)[#foot1344 12]. This function (Figure [#fig:global_search 16]) could be called from any place by pressing Find button if it is present on the device, or via Object Selection, Observations Lists or Star Chart Menus.

Search examples:

  • M1
  • m 1 (any register, spaces)
  • NGC1952
  • ngc 1952 (any register, spaces)
  • alpha and (bayer designation, constellation short name)
  • alpha andromeda (bayer designation, constellation full name)
  • alpheratz (star name)
  • 21 and (flamsteed designation)
  • 21 andromeda
  • MCG 07-02-016 (M31 other designation)
  • CGCG535-017 (M31 other designation)
  • tyc 1179-1775-1 (Tycho-2 layer stars)
  • pgc1662164 (PGC layer galaxies)

User Horizon text format

Figure 17: User horizon
Image user_hor

To draw your local horizon on Star Chart you need to prepare a text file where each line contains Az Alt pair. For example, Figure ([#fig:us_hor 17]) shows a user horizon for the following data:

19 0

20 10

30 30

40 60

60 60

61 0

DSO Planner text format

Each object is represented by a text string which starts with ''& '' symbol and then contains pairs of the form ''field=value'' separated by '';'' symbol. The pairs could be put into a text string in any order. It is possible to use only some fields and omit other, in this case omitted fields will be automatically set to 0 or zero string. To deal with several objects at once place several lines into the text file, every line corresponding to its own object.

If you need to use ''& '' or '';'' within value (e.g. within text fields), just put ''\\'' before the symbol: ''\\&'' or ''\\;''.

Standard object fields

  • ra. Right ascension in epoch 2000. Its value lies in 0 to 24 range
  • dec. Declination in epoch 2000. Its value lies in -90 to 90 range
  • a, b. Object dimensions in minutes. a is the larger one
  • pa. Position angle in degrees
  • name1. Short object name
  • name2. Long object name
  • comment. Text comment on an object
  • mag. Magnitude of an object
  • type. [#object_types Object type]
  • typestr. The name of the custom user type. This field is required only if you use your own (custom) object type[#foot1377 13]

Additional (custom) object fields

If standard object fields are not sufficient for object description one could use any number of additional fields. Additional fields could have the following types:

  • Text. Text field
  • Double. Fractional number field
  • Integer. Integer number field
  • Image path. Field with a path to an image on SD card
  • Web link. Field with a web link

Auxiliary fields

When exporting/importing the application uses several auxiliary fields for database reference, note description, location description, etc; users should not use these fields for their object description (''note'', ''notebaseid'', ''date'', ''time'', ''path'' , ''latitude'', ''longitude'', ''aperture'', ''afov'', ''catalog'', ''id'', ''selected'', etc.).

Useful abbreviations

  • ngc. Simplifies import of NgcIc objects. Just use object description in the form &ngc = object number, for example $\&ngc=3031$
  • ic. Simplifies import of NgcIc objects. Just use object description in the form &ic = object number, for example $\&ic=2$


Double star from WDS (Washington double star) catalog: $\&name1=00000 7530;name2=00000 7530;ra=0.001844;dec=75.483276;mag=10.27000;pa=235;type=ds;year=1982;components=;mag2=11.50000;spectrum=;separation=0.600001$

This double star description uses the following additional fields[#foot1703 14]:

  • year. Integer
  • components. Text
  • mag2. Double
  • spectrum. Text
  • separation. Double

Dark nebula from Lynds catalog: $\&name1=LDN1;name2=LDN1;ra=16.480963;dec=-16.107859;opacity=3;a=13.942740;b=13.942740;type=neb$

Bright nebula from Lynds catalog: $\&name1=LBN1;name2=LBN1;ra=17.752939;dec=-28.851336;brightness=5;a=4;b=4;type=neb$


The program extensively supports import/export operations in DSO Planner [#text_format text format]. Any list with objects, notes, locations, telescopes and eyepieces could be exported in text format and imported back.

  • Export. Export to a text file in DSO Planner [#text_format text format]
  • Import. Import from a text file in DSO Planner text format. When importing objects in [node4.html#observation_lists Observations Lists] or notes in [node12.html#note_screen Notes] you need to specify whether the source file is yours or someone else's. This is important to perform import correctly. When someone else's file is imported into observation list [#temp_permanent_object temporary] objects are created. When own file is imported [#temp_permanent_object permanent] objects are created provided that the database objects refer to was not removed
  • Paste. Paste objects from clipboard. The program tries to interpret text in the clipboard as a text representation of object(s) in DSO Planner text format and insert them into the list/database
  • Share. Share current list in DSO Planner text format via external application (such as Gmail, Evernote, etc). No more than 300 objects are shared due to internal android restrictions

Temporary/Permanent Objects

Objects could be permanent

  • [node1.html#pre_installed_databases internal database objects] (such as NgcIc, SAC, etc)
  • user database objects

and temporary

  • objects existing in [node4.html#observation_lists observation lists] only. Such objects could be created
    • in observation list with [node4.html#obs_list_add_obj Add Object] command
    • when importing objects into observation list if imported objects do not contain references to databases (e.g. when the database was removed or someone else's file is used)
  • It is necessary to emphasize that when adding objects into observation list from [node3.html#dso_selection Object Selection] module or [node9.html#view_database View database] module they remain permanent. This also relates to import into observation list when imported objects contain references to databases

Temporary objects are created much easier. They are required if you need to see something quickly and you do not care whether they will exist later. Temporary objects are also required for exchanging observation lists among users. Temporary objects has less functionality than permanent.

Permanent objects could be used in [node3.html#dso_selection Object Selection] filtering. Permanent objects are included into [#global_search Global Search].

Temporary object exists until it is removed from the observation list. Temporary object is not included into Global Search, however it is still included into [#find_next Find/Next] search.

When importing external list into observation list (from other users) it is temporary objects (with limited functionality) that are created, with the only exception of internal database objects[#foot1481 15]. This is understandable as every user may have its own database structure and its own object location within it. Therefore, other user objects could not be referred to your own databases.

This issue could be partly solved by creating a new user [node8.html#create_database database] and importing objects into it. However, before importing you need to create a database with exactly the same additional fields as used in object lists, otherwise information in additional fields will be lost. This may not be a solution when an external observational list that you import contain objects from various user databases.


This is a simple search of a string within the object name in a current list only. ''Find'' looks for the first coincidence, ''Next'' for all others. The positive search result is shown in bold. The search is inclusive (e.g. ''12'' is found in ''abc12'' name). To reset the search just press ''Find''.


DSO Planner supports 2 simple gestures. Flick Up at the bottom - to call the main menu of the window, and flick left to simplify returning to the previous window, or to close the dialog window (similar to "Back" button of Android). However the gesture will not work over such active GUI controls as buttons, list and edit fields.


Figure 18: Dobsonian telescope with simple setting circles; One star alignment dialog
Image dob1      Image dob2      Image dob3      Image onestaralign

The application could calculate setting circles readings for telescopes with Alt-Az mount. There is no need to align setting circles so that zero azimuth points exactly to the North, and zero altitude is exactly at horizon. It is sufficient to level the telescope base in horizontal plane[#foot1500 16] and perform one star alignment. Telescope base should be in horizontal plane for correct calculation of setting circles azimuthal reading.

Application author uses Dobsonian telescope for observations (Figure [#fig:dob 18]). Azimuthal circles glued to mount base have a 0.5 degree step. Altitude circles are represented by a cheap digital inclinometer with 0.1 degree accuracy. In practice with a help of the application such an equipment permits to find almost any object during 1-2 minutes.

To perform one star alignment you need to go to [node5.html#sky_chart Star Chart] and select an alignment star. Then point your telescope to this star and select [node5.html#one_star_align Align Star] from Star Chart Menu. Make sure that the star is seen exactly at eyepiece center and fix the time of this occasion by pressing Now button (Figure [#fig:dob 18]). Then enter azimuth and altitude readings of your setting circles into Measured Az and Measured Alt fields and press One Star Align button. The application will calculate necessary adjustments for setting circles.

ClockWise and CounterClockWise buttons allow to select the azimuthal setting circle direction.

Later you could see azimuth and altitude values of any object recalculated for setting circles at the left bottom side of star chart [node5.html#sky_chart_az_alt control and information zone] by turning on [node5.html#show_adj_az_alt Show Adjusted Az/Alt].

Object Types

The following object types are used throughout the program:

  • GC. Globular cluster
  • Gx. Galaxy
  • GxyCld. Galaxy cloud
  • HIIRg. HII region
  • Neb. Nebula
  • OC. Open cluster
  • OCN. Open cluster nebula
  • PN. Planetary nebula
  • SNR. Supernova remnant
  • mPlanet. Minor planet
  • Planet. Planet
  • Star. Star
  • DS. Double star
  • Comet. Comet
  • CG. Cluster of galaxies
  • DN. Dark Nebula
  • AST. Asterism
  • QS. Quasar
  • NF. Not found
  • CUSTOM. User defined type. Any string could be set as a user (custom) object type ([#type_str typestr])


Object visibility is measured on 0-5 scale,where 0 is invisible and 5 bright. Visibility depends on object brightness and dimensions, sky condition (its limiting magnitude - the magnitude of the faintest star one could see at zenith), telescope aperture, its passthrough and magnification (that is an eyepiece used with the telescope). Blackwell model is used for visibility calculations.

Visibility is not calculated for comets and objects with absent magnitude or dimension. For such objects visibility is considered a missing parameter. Set [node10.html#empty_field_treatment Empty field treatment] as you need to include / exclude such objects when filtering them in [node3.html#dso_selection Object Selection].

As an exception if dimension is missing in planetary nebula, minor planet, or double star its visibility is calculated as that of a star (point-like lighting source).

Detection limit is a minimum visibility threshold: when using visibility filter to look for objects only objects with visibility above or equal to the detection limit are found.

Bluetooth GoTo

Figure 19: GoTo Mount Setup. Details GoTo button (bright theme)

Image gotomountsetup      Image detailsgoto

This module allows to communicate with telescope via bluetooth dongle (to be acquired separately). At the moment the program supports two telescope types: Celestron and Meade. It is planned to increase the number of supported telescopes.

To connect to your telescope you need first to pair with it via standard Android settings and turn bluetooth on. Then go to ''GoTo Mount Setup'' screen either via [node6.html#go_to_mount Settings] or Star Chart Menu ([node5.html#scope_go Scope go]). There you could set up communication with your telescope.

''GoTo Mount Setup'' screen functions (Figure [#fig:go_to 19]):

  • Select paired device. Select your telescope from the list
  • Select telescope type. Select your telescope type
  • Connect. Connect to the telescope
  • Disconnect. Break bluetooth connection with the telescope

After connection is set you could

  • instruct your telescope to point to an object. Select necessary object in any module and go to [node7.html#details_screen Details Screen]. There in the upper right corner GoTo button appears (Figure [#fig:go_to 19]). Press it to transfer object coordinates to the telescope
  • make Star Chart center on where telescope is pointing. Just select [node5.html#scope_go Scope go] from Star Chart Menu


... file[node15.html#tex2html26 11]
just make sure that you have the image files on SD card at the paths that you specified. The path form depends on each particular device, first try to add the image manually to see what form the path takes. Usually it is ''/mnt/sdcard/some directory/file''
... fields)[node15.html#tex2html28 12]
except for USNO UCAC4. The reason is that the index file required for fast search would be too large, but the search without such a file is very slow
... type[node15.html#tex2html30 13]
e.g. using custom object type you could assign a ''meteor'' type to your object
... fields[node15.html#tex2html31 14]
which were set when database was [node8.html#object_databases created]
... objects[node15.html#tex2html32 15]
i.e. when internal database objects from other user list are imported they are created permanent
... plane[node15.html#tex2html34 16]
e.g. with the use of a simple level device