STAR Atlas:PRO frequently asked questions - FAQs

How do I use the On-Line Data Menu � the USNO A2.0 Catalogue & STScI Guide Star Catalogue 2 (GSC2) ?
(Data integration from public astronomical catalogues is available only with STAR Atlas:PRO Version 6 Advanced Edition)

STAR Atlas: PRO has access to very large databases and the capacity to download extra information has great appeal.

STAR Atlas: PRO provides you with an Internet interface to The Guide Star Catalogue 2 (GSC2) and the USNO-A2.0 Catalogues, both of which are publicly available on the Internet but are to large to easily distribute.

STAR Atlas: PRO can automatically extract data from either of these massive catalogues for any area of the Sky you select, the data is then stored in STAR Atlas: PRO and used to draw very faint star charts.

The GSC2 is recommended as it contains Stars and Non-Stars to Magnitude 19.5, for fainter applications you may extract data from the A2.0 Catalogue which contains data for Stars to Magnitude 21.

To Set Up for this Operation.
A STAR Atlas: PRO option must be set to display the new information it collects from the On-Line Catalogues, follow this procedure:-

1. Start STAR Atlas: PRO.
2. Click on [Chart Prefs] on the main menu.
3. Click on [Polar Mode] so the charts ignore horizon boundaries, etc.
4. Click on [Catalogue Selection Method] (near top right).
5. Click on [Manual] (top centre).
6. At the lower part of the centre screen, click on [Enable Imported Catalogue Data].
7. Then click on either (but not both) of [The Guide Star Catalogue 2] or [A2.0 Catalogue] and remember which when it is time to download data.
8. Click [Close] to return to the [Chart Prefs] menu.
9. Click on [Object Options] [Object Labels] then,
10. Remove the tick from [Guide Star Catalogue Labels], [Guide Star Catalogue 2 Labels] and [USNO A2.0 Catalogue Labels]. This stops the desktop becoming too crowded when data is downloaded.
11. Click Close to return to the [Locate] menu.
12. Click [Redraw] to return to the desktop.

To Use the On-Line Data Technique Selected.

1. Start STAR Atlas: PRO.
2. Click [Locate] to find an item of interest and select it on the desktop (say M31).
3. Enlarge it by clicking on [Field of View] on the main menu and setting [Field of View Preset] to say 1 degree.
4. Put the cursor on the selected item of interest on the desktop and right-click.
5. Select [On Line Data] then either [USNO A2.0 Catalogue] or [STScI Guide Star Catalogue 2] depending on the catalogue selected in the setup, described above.
6. A new menu comes up [Internet Interface to ON-Line Astronomy Catalogues].
7. Click on the number of [Select the Field Size to Retrieve] say 30 arc minutes.
8. Click on [Download Now] and the data is automatically downloaded and stored in the program.
9. The data collected shows a great collection of small stars, which is really spectacular.
10. Before you finish, go to [Chart Prefs] then [Catalogue Selection Method], and return the [Catalogue Selection Method] to [Auto]. If this is not done the screen will fill with an amazing number of multi-coloured objects!

Over all this is a great way to collect data and to learn more about our sky!

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