Plan Creation Wizard

The Plan Creation Wizard feature in V1.x wasn’t particularly “wizardy”. It had a confusing single pane dialog, forced you to choose constellations, and was abysmally slow. It also wasn’t overly clever at picking objects for your plan, and would often present you with an empty plan with no objects found (apparently).

This feature has been totally revised for V2.

Firstly, the dialog is a multi-pane affair with previous/next buttons, descriptions of what you need to do, etc.


The first task you have is to tell the wizard who you are and what level of difficulty you want the resultant plan to be.


Currently the Observer resource setting is not used, but it might be in the future.

The next task is to specify where you will be observing from, and whether you want to make the plan one that is restricted to a time period, or to one or more constellations. In the example below, the observing site is Kirkland,WA (the home of AstroPlanner), and the plan will contain objects viewable during the summer months, between the start of astronomical twilight and 3am the following morning.


You can also specify seasons, months, or particular dates. The other option is to specify particular constellations that you wish to observe.


Next you specify the telescopes and/or binoculars you’ll be using, so that the wizard can avoid objects that cannot be resolved with the specified instruments (i.e. don’t choose a dim galaxy, or 0.5″ double star if you are going to be using 10×50 binoculars).


Next you specify what kinds of objects you want in your plan, and how many objects in total should be chosen. If you specify more than one type of object, the wizard will attempt to find equal numbers of each type.


Finally, you choose whether to create a new plan document, or to add the new objects to the frontmost open plan document. Clicking Finish will then create the plan for you (typically taking a few seconds).


What’s with the “Additional Databases”? Well, the way this new Plan Creation Wizard works is when you start AstroPlanner for the first time (or when you add/remove/update catalogues), a background thread starts up and builds a database of objects while you continue working. The database takes a few minutes to construct (on a typical computer), even with a full compliment of catalogues. The process looks through all the catalogues for suitable objects, based on criteria (see below), and files their information in a database (known as the “Main Database”).

It is also possible to construct custom databases (or it will be in the future) and use these in the plan creation wizard process as an option. e.g. someone might create a database of all the NSOG objects, with their given “difficulty levels”, which would be an excellent way to create a customised NSOG plan.

The criteria used by the Plan Creation Wizard in V1.x were fixed and “untuned”. In the new version, the criteria are editable (via the Criteria… button). You can tweak and tune as much as you like. If you make changes, of course, the database is reconstructed in the background.


This feature represents the last “major” feature in V2. V2.0b1 coming your way soon.