Object List Generator

The ASA DDM60 software, 'Autoslew' has an 'Object List' facility.
The way this normally works is that you select objects in your planetarium software,
but instead of the mount slewing immediately to the object, Autoslew memorises the coordinates in a list.
You can build up a long list of objects to examine in a session.

From time to time I need to move to a set coordinate position, that is not determinable from the planetarium software.
Perhaps a Nova occurs somewhere, or a comet needs investigation.
I decided to write an Excel spreadsheet to make life easier.

I can now enter coordinates manually, or download an ephemeris and use that.

Example of the text file that Autoslew uses for the object list:
(Stored in C:\ProgramData\ASA\Autoslew\MyObjectLists)

5 (number of objects in list)
*****************************
Object Number 1
Object Name :m74 supernova
Epoch: Real
RA : 1.61338055555556
DE : 15.7586111111111
*****************************
Object Number 2
Object Name :pluto
Epoch: Real
RA : 18.6522777777778
DE : -19.9852222222222
*****************************
Object Number 3
Object Name :uranus
Epoch: Real
RA : 0.761416666666667
DE : 4.12827777777778
*****************************
Object Number 4
Object Name :neptune
Epoch: Real
RA : 22.4241111111111
DE : -10.5938888888889
*****************************
Object Number 5
Object Name :M31
Epoch: Real
RA : 0.711666666666667
DE : 41.2666666666667



Manual entry example:

You enter the number of objects, file name, set the epoch, and then the names of the objects and their coordinates.
If you decide to change the order, alter the numbers in column A and click on "Sort order".
You then click on "Save Object List file" and the file is saved into the correct folder.





Ephemeris entry

Asteroids' and comets' locations can be found from the Minor Planet & Comet Ephemeris Service

Example:
(The two arrowed columns show the relative motion of the comet. Autoslew can track on the comet instead of sidereal speed).



The data from the ephemeris is then copied and pasted into the spreadsheet: (in a different worksheet from the manual entry method).



I then select which positions I need for the object list, and add numbers to column B.



Click on "Sort" and we now have:



The format of the object list can be checked in a third worksheet,
and if all looks well, click on "Save object list".
(The file name and number of objects is determined automatically)




This may seem a little long-winded, but it actually takes only a couple of minutes.
Thanks to the incredible pointing accuracy of the DDM60 mount, the required
object is usually very close to the centre of the frame.
This is the first image taken after the mount slewed to Comet Lovejoy: