Came across this neat bit of software on the BRT forums. It's called Aladin. From the Aladin web site:
"Aladin is an interactive software sky atlas allowing the user to visualize digitized images of any part of the sky, to superimpose entries from astronomical catalogs or personal user data files, and to interactively access related data and information from the SIMBAD
, or other archives for all known objects in the field (see available data)
is particularly useful for multi-spectral cross-identifications of astronomical sources, observation preparation and quality control of new data sets.
The Aladin sky atlas
is available in three modes: a simple previewer, a Java applet interface and a Java Standalone application."
I had a little fun with it at lunch time today using the Palomar plates:
Astronomy enthusiasts everywhere have entered a bleak stretch of time. The clouds have rolled in courtesy of all the new gadgets and toys that Santa left underneath the tree this past holiday season. So, we're left with a lot of waiting and subsequent cursing at the local weather forecasters. At least once, the notion of driving across three states to try out new gear has crossed our minds. For a fleeting second, it didn't seem like a bad idea either.
It's during this time distractions are discovered on the 'net (BRT, Slooh, etc), we pick up our books, and our charts, we gaze wistfully at our new gear, and the itch gets more and more unbearable until finally, the cloud breaks
...and the moon is full ;-)
Happy new year!