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Off to PATS...

Steve and Matt just headed out the door on their way to this weekend's PATS show in Pasadena, CA (see Even though they're lots of work, and take time away from development, trade shows like PATS, and star parties, are always a great way for us to connect with our friends, customers, as well as to show off the latest offerings.  (Last week, we shipped over 600 lbs. of display equipment, computers, software, a Paramount ME, etc. to the show.)

So, if you're anywhere in the area, consider dropping by and saying "howdy" to the guys and check out what's new.

(Rumor has it that Dr. Dave will be there too!)

Our next outing is AIC in November. Should be a great event!


Posted 09-12-2008 9:45 AM by Daniel R. Bisque
Filed under: ,


David Toth wrote re: Off to PATS...
on 09-16-2008 12:49 PM

Yep, I was there too, and enjoyed meeting a lot of SB customers (and future customers) ... Interest was very high for Seeker and of course the Serious Astronomer and Professional Astronomer versions of TheSkyX.

I do admit to hiding in the back closer to the Paramount ME and fielding questions there. Personally, I need to take a deep dive into all of the new features of theSkyX. SB has taken the opportunity afforded them in doing a complete re-write to re-organize the structure of the program and its integration features. Change can be a bit scarey, even to me, but I can certainly see the huge advantage/opportunity in all of this ... so I'll be learning along with the whole user-base. And it IS fast with newer Image Link routines that allow larger FOVs to be linked.

Can't wait!

Dr. Dave

Jonathan Burnett wrote re: Off to PATS...
on 09-16-2008 5:12 PM

My feelings exactly Dave.  I'm COMMITTED to the new TheSkyX platform, but......

Transitioning has been kind of tough.  Mind you, being in IT for 32+ years and being able to understand programs and adapt to change isn't something I typically find challenging, but.....

The paradigm has changed and my experience with TheSky5 & 6 along with StarryNightPro, isn't really helping me to get a comfortable grip on this.  Of course, I'm not yet able to depend on it for imaging and telescope control, which would kind of force me to sink or swim.  Still, I was hoping to get up to speed on the interface now so to make that transition easier down the road.  Only, I'm not adapting well to it....

In fairness to the product, I'm not investing any time trying to study the documentation (I'm suffering from lazy user syndrome).  I've dabbled with the interface, hoping my intuition learned with earlier versions and similar functioning products, would be enough.....

So far, it is not enough, so sadly it remains the least played with tool in my astronomy arsenal.  But this is a product that is way too cool to stay that way.  It's fast, it's beautiful, and, unfortunately for me (so far) a bit incomprehensible.


Daniel R. Bisque wrote re: Off to PATS...
on 09-17-2008 2:57 PM


One of the goals of TheSkyX is extreme ease of use. Can you tell me what the "stumbling blocks" are for you? I'm curious.

Jonathan Burnett wrote re: Off to PATS...
on 09-17-2008 5:12 PM

Hi Dan,

Well, in all fairness, I haven't really spent much time trying to learn it.  I kind of dipped my toe into it by trying really simple stuff like "find an object".  We have an ISS flyover for tonight and I wanted to see its path across the sky and when that would happen.  If you do that in StarryNight, it's pretty intuitive.  Find.  Select.  Path is drawn on the image and the object then traces that path and the clock tells you when it will appear and disappear.  Nothing to it.

In TheSkyX, I do a Search.  It shows a couple of items with ISS on the left side of the screen.  No checkboxes.  I click on them.  I double-click on them.  Nothing happens.  Nothing but blue sky on the screen.  OK.  I have a few options.  The first one I try is "Center".  Clicking that changes the blue sky to a space view.  No ISS on the screen (that's visible).  No label.  No track.  Nothing but a few planets labeled.  Another button says "Frame".  Click that, the planets go away, a few spiral galaxies appear.  No labels on anything.  No ISS.  No clues.  I then try "Lock On".  A few dots appear in the center and the background is moving.  Still labels but if I hover the cursor over them, a hint box appears confirming that's the ISS.  I still don’t' know where it is.  When it's coming over and where in my sky.  Now I'm out buttons to push!

These are pretty simple tasks and my bet is, they ARE simple to do BUT, it is just not intuitive.

I know in the long run I need to and better get real good at using this, but for now, I know how to get my questions using other tools.

I hope this doesn't sound like criticism because I don't mean it to be.  I'm just a fan who's trying to adapt as early as I can to the next generation of the product but my inner-geek is letting me down! :-)



Daniel R. Bisque wrote re: Off to PATS...
on 09-18-2008 9:26 AM


Here's one way to find the best passes for the ISS (or any satellite) in TheSkyX:

1. Click Input > Satellites and mark "ISS" (or any group of satellites) to load the latest TLE's for the ISS from the web.

2. On the Satellites dialog, click the Show Satellites from Above Earth button.

The dates and times for the best passes over the next week are listed.

Jonathan Burnett wrote re: Off to PATS...
on 09-18-2008 6:34 PM

Hi Dan,

That's a nice tool for getting dates.  It's doesn't however show me MY sky and where the ISS crosses (horizon-to-horizon).

That's really what I wanted to see.



Matthew L. Bisque wrote re: Off to PATS...
on 09-19-2008 9:29 AM

To see the horizon to horizon path, put a check mark next to "Update Chart" and select a desired pass - the chart displays the pass.  

It' also might be helpful to turn on  "Show satellite paths" on the Satellite dialog.

From here, the time skip tool bar and Date Time tab let you watch the pass.

Jonathan Burnett wrote re: Off to PATS...
on 09-19-2008 6:16 PM

Hi Dan,

I was trying some of the things you suggested when it crashed with this error message:  Faulting application TheSkyX.exe, version, time stamp 0x47d1b464, faulting module ig4icd32.dll, version, time stamp 0x480942d3, exception code 0xc0000005, fault offset 0x00021552, process id 0x172c, application start time 0x01c91ab228f183a1.

This is on Vista32 SP1.


Ozy wrote re: Off to PATS...
on 09-20-2008 3:26 PM

I had the honor of spending many hours with the Bisque brothers at PATS both at the convention and at the S&T event on Friday.   Our booth was right next to theirs.  Thank you so much!!   You guys are amazing, and I have the utmost respect for the Bisque team.


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