(IAAC) CAOS V 0.19

News on CAOS/2

The next beta release of CAOS/2 is gaining shape. I started from the scratch
to add new features as well as to improve the user interface. A lot of
thoughts went into the task, and I am convinced that you will like what
you will see. :-)

There will be a closed version only for betatesters (V 0.19). Shortly
after that, i will put the next open beta (V 0.20)  on hobbes and
nautilus for download.

What you can expect from V 0.19 beta and the following versions:

- CAOS/2 is now bilingual. Because OS/2 is extremely popular in Austria
and Germany (it has about 20% market share on desktop computers), one
can specify which language to use at the first start of the program.

- new, improved setup. You now can specify as many observing sites as you
like. You will enter longitude and latitude as degrees and minutes for
improved accuracy. Selection of West or East, North or South is made by
a spin button (thanks to a suggestion of one of the beta testers).

- You will be able to change the site for which everything will be
calculated on the fly from a list.

- CAOS/2 now lets you not only specify a list of your instruments, but
all your eyepieces and filters, too. (This will be used for calculation in
later versions, now its for convenience when adding to the logbook).

- the main windows has been redesigned. Time, JD, sideral time etc. are
now shown in a seperate window. When it is closed, time is updated only
once a minute, so CAOS/2 will take virtually no processor time when you
do not need it.

-  in the main window, there is now a small picture showing you the
quality of the skies for astronomical observing. When the sun is up, you'll
see a sunlit landscape. At sunset or sunrise, you'll see exactly that :-).
After sunset, there is a landscape that will fade into black as the sun
goes down more and more. When astronomical twilight is there, stars
will show up in that picture. (In later versions, the effect of moonlight
will be included,too). A text will tell you how far up or down the sun is.

- There is a new window that shows data for the sun: distance from earth,
RA/DE and altitude above local horizon - still geocentric, but this
will change. (In later versions, everything you'll need for observing the
sun will be included).

- You'll find a complete logbook for the recording of your observations
in CAOS/2. (In 0.19, you can only enter deep sky objects).This logbook is
highly automated.
For example: You enter the date and time of observation and the name of
the object you observed. CAOS/2 now will search a database to fill in
coordinates, constellation, size, magnitude and type of the object.
It then will calculate the altitude of the sun (for example: 22 degrees
below the horizon), calculate if the moon was up (not in V 0.19, but later
on), if so, it will calculate the phase and how far away from the object
the moon was.  It will calculate the altitude for the object when it
was observed. You'll only have to choose the instrument, the eyepieces
and filters, the seeing and transparency from dropdown lists and enter
your description. You can add the observation to your logbook AND prepare
it for submitting to the IAAC with a single click (the latter function
will come up later).

-The logbook can be browsed by a combination of criterias: Constellation,
Object type and rating.Every combination is possible, from "show all entries
in the logbook" to "show all open clusters observed in Ophiuchus that I
have rated interesting". In later versions you will be able to print your
entries. After you made your selsction, you'll see a list of those
objects that match the criterias. Click of any of them, and in a second
list you'll find the dates of your observations. Chose one, and you'll
see the report.

-Logbook entries will be stored as simple text files, so you can use them
with word processors and other programs. You can add multiple entries for
a single object.

Expect V 0.19 to be out this week. It depends on how much sparetime I have
left the next days, but it looks good :-)

Clear skies to all of you.

TEAM/BBDO New Media Division
Bernhard Georg Rems