New Year Updates

I know, this place has been almost dead for months. Unfortunately, life has intervened a lot lately -- however, I expect to be doing a lot more observing the next few months. In the meantime, I updated everything to the current version of the CMS I use. Yeah, I know -- the theme is an ugly default theme. I'm working on it.

Site Updates

I've added a few new features to the site.

Distant Worlds Star Mapper: There are several new enhancements. Major ones include:

a: Chart settings


Expected tonight: a lunar eclipse. Actually seen: your basic, unlovely nebular occultation, at least from my back yard. In fact, for much of the night it wasn't obvious that anything unusual was going on, except through the occasional break in the clouds. Fortunately, one member of my local astro club, Brian Kimball, did get a nice picture through some light clouds.

Huge comet outburst!

(h/t Bad Astronomer)

17th to 3rd magnitude in less than 24 hours!

More site updates

I've made a few more changes to the Distant Worlds Star Mapper. The big ones are:

Site updates

I've updated the software behind the site overnight. One big change: you don't need to register to post or view comments. However, every comment field has a captcha (one of those distorted-text-in-an-image thingies) as an anti-spam defense.

Oh yeah, I know -- the current theme could use some work. The old one I had isn't compatible with the site update. I'll probably have a somewhat nicer-looking version up in the next week or so.


I've got some pesky spammers here, doing the old "stick a bunch of spam in older posts" stunt, and since it's been pretty quiet the last couple of months, I've turned off commenting for the near future. It'll probably come back after a general site upgrade in the next few weeks...

Site updates: HYG Catalog v. 2.0

I have updated the HYG Database. It now includes the complete Hipparcos catalog (the old version had only stars to magnitude +9.0), and it includes velocity information where it's available.

More details are on the main HYG Database page linked above.

Double vision

April in the northern hemisphere means galaxies -- lots of 'em. But what do you do if you live in the city, can't get to a dark-sky site easily, and it's close to full moon?

How about a few stars, for a change? Recently, I took a look at several bright double stars, for a change of pace from my usual choices of planets and deep-sky objects. More details below.

Star Mapper updates, round 2

I have made another significant update to the Distant Worlds Star Mapper. It now draws much more realistic star images. There are some sample screen shots after the break:


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