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Just a quick report on tonight's observation . Got an AZ GOTO mount on Monday and have the 130p mounted on it ... to be honest , I was worried about getting it set up right , but after a look around SGL found the information on coordinates that were needed and it works 100% . 3 new Messier and NGC targets were found tonight , well , 4 if you add NGC7000 , but it was too faint to count as a catch - it looked like a very faint cluster . The big catches tonight were in the Ursa Major region : Bode's Galaxy M81 and the Cigar Galaxy M82 . Both were well defined and bright , even in the 5 inch reflector and I was very happy to see them for the first time . Up to now M57 was my favourite DSO , now it's joint favourite with Bode's Galaxy . NGC7635 Bubble Nebula was also a first and added to the list tonight . Several other targets , e.g. Pinwheel Galaxy , in Ursa Major region were attempted tonight but with no luck - maybe darker Winter skies will give better results with these .
After some request from SGL members, I decided to present a small software application I have been working on in my spare time.In essence, this program is converts user’s observation reports (using a simple defined structure) into two tidy and organised PDF documents:one organising the data by target (see example: astrojournal_by_target.pdf );the other by session (see example: astrojournal_by_date.pdf ).As of Sep 2015, this program is a beta release, and still does not have a proper graphical user interface (gui). I apologise for this, but as I said, I am developing this in my spare time. If you are interested in contributing with new features, please, feel free to let me know, so that we can work together. Thanks for your interest, Kind regards,PieroAstroJournalAn application for recording astronomy observation records in a tidy and consistent manner.Licence: GPL v3 (2015)Wiki page / Website: https://bitbucket.org/pdp10/astrojournal/DescriptionThis Java application imports files containing astronomy observations and generates an integrated journal document in PDF format using Latex. Observation files can be edited using a common Spreadsheet software (e.g. Google Spreadsheet, LibreOffice Calc, Office Excel) or any common text editor (e.g. MS Wordpad, Emacs, Kate, or GEdit) and must be saved as tab-separated value (tsv) files. To be recognised, fields must be separated by a TAB delimiter. No quote or single quotes should be added for marking the fields.Features (as of 10th September 2015)Generation of a PDF document containing all user observation records collected by increasing target catalogue number. This is useful for comparing targets observed over time.Generation of a PDF document containing all user observation reports collected by decreasing date. This is useful for visualising one’s observations by session.Execution in batch mode (via command line). Windows users can use a mini graphical window including a button for running the program. This is only temporary until a proper graphical user interface is completed.Complete lists of Messier objects and Caldwell selection of NGC targets are included at the end of the generated PDF documents.Although the program requires some form of structured input file, this is intentionally minimal in order to not distract the user who wants to insert his / her data rather than thinking of how to format this data. All input data is treated as a string and therefore is not parsed for controls. This leaves the freedom to the user to introduce the data content as s/he wish. For instance, although in each document header I use the Antoniadi Scale for Seeing, this can be trivially overridden with a customised one. The inserted value for the seeing is not controlled according to a specific scale. Possibility to edit the document header and the footer according to one’s need. This must be done in LaTex for preserving the format controls in the final output file.Future featuresInsert a new observation session using a graphical user interface (gui). Have a GUI view where the previous observations can be visualised and edited.Requirements and Download:To use AstroJournal you need to install:Java 1.6+TeX Live (https://www.tug.org/texlive/ ; the command pdflatex must be available on command line)The program can be downloaded here: https://bitbucket.org/pdp10/astrojournal/downloads .Of note, the program size is MUCH smaller than what is reported. That is the size of the repository, which includes all the version history. After downloading and uncompressing the file, you can run AstroJournal on GNU/Linux typing:# GNU/Linux or MacOSX users./create_journal.shor # if you are using Windows, click on the following icon (this will start a very basic window with 1 button):create_journal.batHow to create an observation recordAs currently implemented, the format of the observation tables is specific. A sample of an observation table is provided below. The titles Date, Time, Location, Altitude, Temperature, Seeing, Transparency, Telescopes, Eyepieces, Filters, Target, Cons, Type, Power, and Notes, cannot be changed as these are used by AstroJournal to retrieve the data. All fields are separated by a TAB character (character usually placed above "Caps Lock"), which must be used. Files containing reports like the sample shown below must be saved using the .tsv extension (tab-separated value). An example of observation is as follows:Date 03/06/2015 Time 21:40-23:30 Location Cambridge, UKAltitude 12m Temperature 12C (wind: 0km/h) Seeing 1 - Perfect seeing Transparency 5 - Clear Telescopes Tele Vue 60 F6 Eyepieces TV Panoptic 24mm, Nagler 3.5mm Filters Single Polarising Filter Target Cons Type Power Notes Jupiter Cnc Planet 103x +/- SPF Write description here. Moon - Satellite 103x Write description here.Examples of observations can also be found in the folder tsv_folder/ . These files can be edited with any spreadsheet (e.g. Google SpreadSheet, MS Excel, LibreOffice SpreadSheet) or a common text editor (e.g. MS Wordpad, Emacs, Kate, or GEdit). To customise the document header and footer, please look at the folder latex_header_footer to find the Latex files for the header and footer. Also these files can be edited with any common text editor.Use caseHere are some guidelines for using AstroJournal: Report your observations (with the structure of my tsv file) using a spreadsheet program, such as MS Excel, Libreoffice Spreadsheet, or Google Spreadsheet. Alternatively you can use a common text editor (e.g. Wordpad, GNU Emacs, Kate, etc.) as long as the fields are the same as in the samples provided in the tsv_report and that each field is separated using a TAB character. Export your file as tsv (if using Google Spreadsheet) or csv. In the latter case, when asked, select tab as field delimiter and no single or double quotation marks for the fields. Then, change the file extension from .csv to .tsv . If you used a text editor, you can save the file using the extension .tsv directly. Put this file in the folder tsv_reports. In the main astrojournal folder type the command above ./create_journal.sh or ./create_journal.bat .