STAR Atlas:PRO frequently asked questions - FAQs

How to use the Palomar Digitized Sky Survey (DSS) Interface ?

This description aims to get the user started on the luxury journey of viewing the sky from inside your living room with out the discomfort of going out into the cold!

Step 1.
Make sure you have STAR Atlas:PRO setup correctly by performing the following Check 1 and Check 2 procedures. After performing these initial checks skip this section, the next time you use the STAR Atlas:PRO DSS Interface.

Check 1.

1) Verify that the Location to Store DSS Images option is set to the correct location. This option tells STAR Atlas: PRO where to store each DSS image that you choose to keep.
2) If you installed STAR Atlas: PRO to the default location ( C:\STARPRO ) then you may skip this check, and proceed to the next step.
3) Otherwise, go to [Chart Prefs] > [Program Settings & Config]>[Regional Settings] and check that the setting of the option Location to Store DSS Images is set to the folder named IMAGES in the same location you installed STAR Atlas: PRO.
4) For example: if you installed STAR Atlas: PRO into the folder D:\ASTRO\STARPRO then you would need to set the option Location to Store DSS Images too D:\ASTRO\STARPRO\IMAGES\  
* Important: the trailing backslash (\) must be present!

Check 2:

5) In [Chart Prefs] the option [Display DSS Image Outlines] (bottom centre) should be enabled (tick mark present).

Normal Procedure for using the Palomar Digitized Sky Survey interface.

For the following steps you need to be connected to the Internet.

1) Click [Chart Prefs] > [Polar Mode] (top right) so that you are not restricted to star charts above your local horizon.
2) Select a [Field of View] (main menu) of 5 Degrees or less. To do this Click [Field of View] and select 5 Degrees.
3) Centre the chart so that the celestial object you wish to display a DSS image for can be seen on the chart.
4) To do this, click on the object of interest, then right-click and then click [Centre Chart], the first item on this menu.
5) Now right-click on the object again so that you are clicking in the centre of the object you wish to display a DSS image for. The centre of the resulting DSS image will be exactly where you clicked.
6) Choose [On-Line Data] > STScI Digitized Sky Survey from the popup menu that appears when you right click.
7) The DSS interface window will appear which provides you with several options to choose from before the DSS Image is fetched across the Internet. The most important of these options is the size of the DSS Image to fetch. Typically an image size of around 10x10 arc-minutes is normally adequate.
8) Choose the [Download Now] button. STAR Atlas: PRO will now retrieve the image for the part of the sky you have selected during this time a progress indicator window is displayed until the image is downloaded.
9) The DSS Image will now appear in a window. You may choose to [Store Image] or [Discard Image].  If you choose to keep the image, STAR Atlas: PRO will display an outline of the region that the image covers on the chart.
10) Details of how to obtain images of the size you want are given in the FAQ �How do I download Digitised Sky Survey (DSS) pictures of objects that interest me and make them the size best for me?�

Charting the location of DSS Images from your personal DSS Image Library

All DSS images that you choose to keep are accumulated on your computer and linked into STAR Atlas: PRO. The outline of each DSS image then appears on a chart when the Display DSS Image Outlines option is enabled (see Check 1 previously described in this FAQ).

As you peruse the sky you will come across the boxed outlines of each DSS image you've collected, right-click and select [Identify] from the popup menu. The DSS image is then displayed or listed as one of the objects near your cursor, in which case select it with a double-click and the DSS image is displayed.

Browsing your personal DSS Image Library

You may also browse through all the DSS images you�ve collected. Go to [Locate]->[95 Digitized Sky Survey Images] and then choose the [List] button. A thumbnail image is displayed of the first 16 DSS images in your collection. Use [Page Up] or the [Page Down] buttons or PgUp and PgDn on your keyboard to scroll the images.

To display the full DSS image double-click any one of the thumbnails. You can then click the [Map] button to chart the image�s exact location, or if you are connected to your robotic telescope click [Goto] to slew to the Image celestial position.

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