To being able to utilize the object browser you need to configure your current location in the Astrometry settings in the general settings. That includes Epoch, Hemisphere, Latitude and Longitude. Otherwise the object browser will show you wrong data!
You also might want to consider to download the [SkyAtlas][SkyAtlas] and configure the location of it in the general settings so that the object browser shows you previews of the objects in question.
The idea of the object browser is to show you targets that are relevant to you for this evening. You can set various filters for the object type or maximum altitude. Should you have not decided yet what you want to shoot following filters are suggested to use:
- Object Type: set it to whatever you would like to photograph
- Apparent size: important to get your framing right and make sure that you can actually fit the object into the frame and/or have enough resolution for the object in question
- Minimum altitude: Generally you don’t want to shoot anything that is below 45 degrees at its peak due to atmospheric disturbance
The Moon Phase in the Object Browser will tell you the current phase of the moon, when it will rise and set so you don’t have to guess or rely on the internet.
The object browser heavily depends on your imaging location, you will need to experiment with various filters to see their effects.
All objects that are in the object browser are displayed the same way. Once you understand how to read the display it becomes very easy and tremendeously helpful for you to determine whether the target is worth shooting for you.
- The name of the object in question with any available alternatives. Spoken names like “Whirlpool Galaxy” are not implemented yet.
- The Coordinates of the object in RA and Dec, should you want to save the coordinates or slew manually to them
- The object type which is GALXY (Galaxy) in this case. Those types are abbreviations to save space. In the filter it will use the full description instead of the abbreviation.
- The objects constellation
- Apparent magnitude of the object, if available. Determines the peak brightness.
- Surface brightness of the object, if available (if not, it’s 99.9). The actual full brightness of the object.
- Apparent size of the object, if available. Shows you the apparent size in arcminutes or degrees, depending on size.
- The altitude of the object, current time and darkness meter.
- This one is a bit more complex to explain; the line with a specific peak is the actual altitude of the object at any given time, generally: the higher, the better. Transit north or south tells you whether the object will pass to your south or north.
- The Now line shows you your current time so you can crossreference the current altitude of the object.
- The darker lines are show you the start of the nautical and astro dark.
- Sets the object as the target for the sequence, see Usage: Advanced sequencing
- Sets the object as the target for the framing assistant, see Usage: Framing with the Framing Assistant
- Slews to the target in question so you can frame and align manually or with plate solving, see Usage: Plate Solving