The Observation Planner
Astronomical observations list generation
Astronomical observations report and logging

The observation planner, when completed, will allow Coelix to become a true observation planner and logging software with the following features:

Example: Part of an observation list for a Messier Marathon, built automatically by the COELIX program.
Observation Planner Development

The observation planner is a new feature of the Coelix software whose development began in early 2014 and will take several months to complete. There will be new possibilities added in free updates that will be available every two months on average.

The completed portions are identified by the symbol
in the following sections.

Automatically built lists

The following observation lists are generated automatically by the software for the current Coelix observing station. There are two types of lists:
observation lists for one selected night
observation lists for one chosen month
Lists for one selected night
the most important phenomena of the night
the 110 Messier objects
the 109 Caldwell objects
a selection of the 60 most beautiful celestial bodies for observation with binoculars
a selection of the 170 most beautiful deep sky objects for visual observation through a telescope
a selection of the 120 most beautiful deep sky objects for CCD astrophotography
the most beautiful double and multiple stars
more to come...
Lists for one chosen month
phenomena not to be missed during the current month
comets and asteroids of the month
occultations of planets and stars by the Moon
the phenomena of the galilean satellites of Jupiter (including multiple phenomena)
the most beautiful encounters of celestial bodies in the sky (for stunning photos)
other to come...

Listing order
To facilitate the selection of objects to observe, the elements of the lists may be displayed in one of several possible orders selected by the user, for example:
catalogue number (Messier, NGC, IC, according to the type of object)
right ascension
meridian transit
observability (see definition below)
best time to observe (when observability is at its maximum)
Messier marathon (during one night for Messier objects only)
object ranking (stunning to difficult);
separation (for double stars)
and so on...

Lists with objects selected by the user

The items on the list may come from the following catalogs, tables or views (by clicking on a choice "Add to my observation list"):
a celestial body selected in the sky view, in the zoomed view, in the field of view of the current instrument and inside a sky map
a celestial body selected with the search engine of COELIX
a celestial body chosen in one of the following catalogues: stars, double stars, deep sky objects
a comet or an asteroid selected in a table of orbital elements
a phenomenon chosen in a table of phenomena (galilean satellites, eclipses, occultations...)

Observability of an object

When you ask to generate an observation list for one night, COELIX computes the altitude above the horizon and the degree of observability of each object in the list for the whole night. The observability is rated from 0 to 99, as defined by the following table:
The maximum degree of observability of the night is indicated for each object in a small color-coded rectangle in the column "Best time / Observability" of the observation list. (View the example at the top of this page). Coelix uses the observability to build the list in the following orders: maximum degree of observability, best time to observe the object and Messier marathon.

Coelix uses the following data to compute the observability of an object at every moment:
object type, magnitude, size, surface brightness
altitude of the object above horizon
twilights (altitude of the Sun below the horizon)
illumination of the Moon (phase, altitude above the horizon, distance to the object)
artificial light pollution (to come)

Observability graphic of the selected object

When you click inside the line of an object in the observation list, you get an observability graphic of the selected object. This graph shows the curve of the altitude above the horizon of the object throughout the night. This curve is colored according to the degree of observability to facilitate the choice of the time of observation.
This graph also shows the phase of the Moon, the twilights, and the altitudes of the Sun and of the Moon above the horizon.

Report, recording and observations logging

Coelix provides forms to quickly note the observed and measured properties of the celestial bodies in the observation list. There is also a text box to write a report of what you observed, remarks, suggestions, etc..

You also have the choice to save and print:
the observation list in the selected order
a brief report
a detailed report
Note: This feature in not yet available. It will be in a future free uptate.
Listed in order of Messier marathon
possibility of building lists of selected celestial objects and phenomena, for observation during one night, one month or an indeterminate period of time
possibility to edit a description, a report of your observations, suggestions..., for each object or phenomenon in the observing list
possibility to export, import, share your observation projects with other members of your club who own Coelix
possibility to display the lists in any useful order: best time to observe, right ascension, magnitude, ranking(1..5 stars), or other depending on the type of objects in the list; projects are exported in iCalendar format, so that you will be able to import them in your favorite agenda or calendar application in your computer, tablet or mobile phone;
possibility to automatically generate lists of observations, for example: the most spectacular objects to observe tonight, the comets of the month, the 20 most beautiful double stars of the night, Messier objects in the right order for a Messier marathon, and several others
possibility to control your GOTO telescope from the lists generated inside the projects
and so on ...