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Scytale

How accurate is Stellarium for comets?

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I've been trying to observe comet 41P recently, but I've not had much luck so far, and I'm not certain that I'm looking in the right place. I have Stellarium on my phone, but it gives a different location to Stellarium on my PC. My phone version currently has it between HIP50533 and HIP50688, whereas the PC version has it between HIP55485 and HIP56216. I'm pretty sure that my phone version is wrong - I've previously noticed a Messier object not quite in the right location with it. But how accurate is the PC version? Will it be exactly where it states, or will it be a degree or two out?

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A few have commented on the phone version being out.  The PC version is very accurate, so you can go with that.  I was looking at the comet earlier and that location you have is spot on - see thread.   Hope you see it, it's just a smudge though with no real tail.

 

andrew

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I mentioned on another thread very recently that Stellarium mobile is not developed by the same excellent team that develop Stellarium for desktop.

I've given up on Stellarium mobile because of it's quite limited functionality. The desktop version is still constantly developed and just keeps getting better.

I would be very confident of comet positions given by Stellarium (desktop).

For mobile (I'm sounding like a broken record now!) it's SkySafari for me. It's price is on a sliding scale depending on what functionality you want. I'm still on 4 Pro, version 5 is now the current release.

I've compared SkySafari with Stellarium for comet positions in the past and found them to be excellent agreement.

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Unfortunately, I have a Windows phone. The choice of apps is rather limited, so no SkySafari for me. :sad:

Good to know the desktop version is spot on though. I'll keep trying to spot it.

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I have Skysafari on my iPad Air and iPhone 6+ which I use to control my Celestron 6/8SE Goto mount via wifi with Skyportal. Looked tonight for 41p but not a hint of it. Unless you have a large light bucket perhaps. May try tomorrow again with my Explorer 200PDS reflector. Not seen with my 101mm Mak, or 90mm 'frac. I know I was in the right place for it as all other targets I viewed where within the EP fov. 

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My PC version of Stellarium has the comet in completely the wrong place compared to other online sources (and photos posted on here).

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6 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

My PC version of Stellarium has the comet in completely the wrong place compared to other online sources (and photos posted on here).

I just compared the positions for 41P on Stellarium and SkySafari for 11:30 tonight and they were both in very close agreement! At least visually relative to field stars.

I didn't compare computed coordinates though and I've go to go out now. I'll have a look at that later.

 

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12 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

My PC version of Stellarium has the comet in completely the wrong place compared to other online sources (and photos posted on here).

I agree it shows it as being outside of the bowl of the dipper

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All very strange, my Stellarium on laptop has been showing it correctly, mind-u I have just installed the latest-but-one Stellarium so it's params for comets should be current. When did y'all update your comet databases ?

It is moving very quick though, so when comparing pics take note of the day and hour ( ok I'll shut up teaching eggs ! ) It was outside the bowl on the 21st and will be again by the 25th (give/take/approx)

Could it be that the smarts have not been updated since upload to the store ? Do they have auto-update ??

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This is a bit odd. On my laptop the comet is shown in the bowl, and for 8 tonight is just above a 6th mag star HIP56944 and matches that star and position on Sky Sarfari.  It exactly matched with Comet Johnson which i saw a few nights also.

 

andrew

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1 hour ago, Stub Mandrel said:

I did ask elsewhere, but didn't get an answer - how do I find the 'comet update button'?

Didnt see you elsewhere sorry ! For PC or smarts ?

On PC go to Configuration > Plug-ins > scroll down the left panel to "Solar System Objects" then Configure button lower right.

Edit Ooops, I should have added  > then second tab "Solar System" and then you can get the latest from the Minor Planet Center.

Edited by SilverAstro
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looking at it now on CDC its in a good position for me, never tried before but would I still use "stars" for tracking a comet? 

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5 hours ago, SilverAstro said:

Didnt see you elsewhere sorry ! For PC or smarts ?

On PC go to Configuration > Plug-ins > scroll down the left panel to "Solar System Objects" then Configure button lower right.

Edit Ooops, I should have added  > then second tab "Solar System" and then you can get the latest from the Minor Planet Center.

Thanks for this. I updated it and saw a very slight shift in position. Now if only there was an equivalent option for the mobile version...

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Thanks for all the comments and info in this thread - I wasted about an hour of imaging time last night taking pictures of a bit of "empty" sky and scratching my head thinking "darn, this is one faint comet!!" only to find out I was MILES AWAY because Stellarium (PC, Windows) was completely wrong. 

Found the update button and now it's in the right place (according to other online live sources) so I will try again tonight! Thank the heavens for imaging multiple targets in one night otherwise I'd be one angry comet-gazer this morning! :)

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