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Trying to work out when the variable star Algol was suitably placed for observing in the UK I ended up producing the chart attached below.

It shows a graph of nautical twilight start and end over the year overlain by the times at which Algol is at an altitude of greater than 10 degrees, calculated using an online planisphere. At these limits the star may be a difficult object to observe, but I am erring on the side of caution. I have not seen anything like this from my online searches.

Using the chart makes it easy to identify visible minima of Algol, however I am keen to know what anyone here thinks of it, good or bad.

Best wishes,



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  • 2 weeks later...

Nice plot Martin. It is similar to the output of the old starlink routine "OBSERVE", which was a fantastically useful routine for long term planning of observations;

An Example

Starlink is basically dead now, so I'm not sure if you can still get this package or not... I've never seen anything similar to it elsewhere.

You can get a text output, which is quite useful, from here;

ESO - Observability

Unfortunately it has a very limited range of locations; only professional observatories (and there is nothing as far north as the UK).

If you can make your routine into a web app, it would be very useful I think :)

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