With the help of various staff and volunteers Michael Koppelman and Chris Watson, we've made some improvements to the Variable Star Plotter (VSP). Here is a list:
- VSP now plots stars from the UCAC3 database, instead of the extended UCAC2 database. This will fix many of the fields that had missing stars in them.
- Logic was added that removes the star dot associated with the variable star in the center of the chart. (The cross hairs still exist.) This logic is a little gnarly and may take time to perfect. If
you run into problems e-mail your chart ID to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll attempt to improve it.
- An option has been added to force lines to be drawn from all magnitude labels to their corresponding stars. This will be useful when you need to distinguish between two nearby comp stars.
- The variable star designator/symbol has been made transparent for charts plotting with the DSS fields. This will make it easier to see close companions.
- There is a new option in the user interface (UI) to plot "printable" charts or tables. If you choose the option, it will not print the header/footer or other extraneous information. It will only plot the chart or the photometry table, nothing else. (In the future we will add an option to print a 2-page PDF that has the chart on one page and the table on another.)
- With all the new features, the UI was getting cluttered and long. So we reorganized the layout to place key options at the top so you can make a quick plot easily. We also added a new feature to choose between standard, reversed and CCD chart orientations.
About a dozen minor, nagging bugs were fixed. We have a number of other bug fixes and feature improvements still on our list and we hope to slowly tackle them in the coming months. Included in that list is the bug that prevents a customized title from printing when plotting via coordinates.
If you notice any problems, please e-mail them to email@example.com with as much info as we need to reproduce them. We'll attempt to address them as quickly as we can this week.