At what time does M51 rise? When did we already observe it? In this period, is NGC 1300 visible?
What is its height above the horizon? Which object is better to observe first, and which later? These are only few questions that amateur astronomer must ask to himself when he wants to do systematical observation of astronomical objects. The need to achieve all of these informations, forces a.a.(amateur astronomer) to make boring collections of notes, maps, and so on. There are a lot of 'planetarium'-like programs that almost help the sky observer, but they always are not very good for specifical observations. Today is easy to find, expecially in the Web, many sky-calculate programs, but they are too generic too. After several years of experience in the field of supernovas research, I came to the conclusion that would be very useful to create a software specifically designed for all people, who make a routine work of systematical observations of a particular list of astronomical objects (Galaxies, variable stars, binary stars, etc...). I made it. The software 'RICERCA' allows the user to have always under control every part of the observating procedure, but, in the same time, it's all automatized. By now, it works with four lists of objects: Galaxies, Variable stars, binary stars, Messier objects.
The software organize the list
of astronomical objects in a logic sequence, taking care of date, time, height and other parameters, then
it shows them in the sequence set by user: for example from West to East, so that you can't loose any
setting object... For every object a lot of data are shown: Name, Coordinates,
magnitude, height, azimuth, magnitude of a possible supernova located in that
galaxy, atmosferical extinction, rise,
transit, set, period of the variable star, etc... But the most important thing is that all these functions
can control an LX200 telescope (if you own one) to automatically point the object you are working
with! All this for an all-automated observative session. When you finish with an object, you can
(you must!) record all data about the observation in a data-base created just for this reason: say goodbye
to pen and paper... a lot of useful utilities are also present.
An amateur astronomical observatory completely remote controlled
by Mario Dho
Astrometrica by Herbert Raab