Observatory 1.4.1

We’ve just released Observatory 1.4.1 on the Mac App Store, a minor update focused on bug fixes.

Changes in the Spitzer Heritage Archive and 2MASS image service caused SHA searches and 2MASS previews to fail in Virtual Observatory. These issues have been fixed.

This release also resolves the top crashing bug in Observatory, which could be triggered by closing a library window.

Check out the release notes for the complete list of fixes.

Observatory 1.4 with Dark Mode is out

I flipped some switches today and Observatory 1.4 was released to the universe. You might remember that last month macOS was updated, which includes a neat new feature known as Dark Mode.

Dark Mode is now fully supported by Observatory on macOS 10.14 Mojave. It even works on macOS 10.11–10.13, but there it only affects the appearance of the Library window. In the new Appearance preference pick System to follow the system setting, or choose either Dark or Light to override it.

I think Observatory looks pretty good in Dark Mode.

We’ve also packed a bunch of little changes and bug fixes in there. See the release notes for the complete list.


TMO Background Mode Interview

the Mac Observer

The Mac Observer Background Mode podcast just aired an interview with me. John and I talk about my early fascination with astronomy, programming, and of course about Observatory.

TMO Background Mode Interview with macOS Software Developer Sander Berents

Background Mode is published every Monday afternoon at The Mac Observer. Please subscribe to the podcast, or visit the site for its archive of fascinating interviews with Apple developers, tech industry executives, scientists, researchers, artists, authors and journalists.

“Plate Solving in Observatory is AWESOME! And so simple!”

Mike Weasner of Cassiopeia Observatory just published a great review of Observatory. He’s using it now for his Extragalactic Supernova Project, to align and “blink” images, and for his Cassiopeia Observatory reports. Go visit his website to read the full review (part 1, part 2) and to read the many other reviews, reports and history of Cassiopeia Observatory.

A few extra notes:

  1. Observatory uses the standard state restoration mechanism of macOS. In your System Preferences there’s an option “Close windows when quitting an app”. Uncheck it, and Observatory will automatically reopen the last libraries upon launch. If you have “Ask to keep changes when closing documents” unchecked, it will even reopen libraries you didn’t save yet.

  2. Not being able to apply adjustments to stacks is indeed a current limitation in Observatory and something we want to change in a future update. However, you don’t need to export/import a stack image for adding adjustments. Just take a snapshot of the stack by choosing Image ▸ New ▸ Master. That will create an exact copy of the stack’s current state, and you can apply adjustments to it.

  3. SkySafari typically launches with your current time, and if the object you are viewing in Observatory is not currently visible, selecting Image ▸ Show Sky Chart will display an area in the blue sky or below the horizon. In SkySafari’s Horizon panel, disable “Show Daylight” and set “Show Horizon & Sky as Transparent With Line”. That will solve this issue.

Thank you Mike for the review!

Observatory 1.3.1

We’ve just released Observatory 1.3.1 on the Mac App Store, an update focused on bug fixes.

It contains photometry enhancements and resolves a problem with the GCVS labels and tags for a few constellations.

In addition, we’ve added a section in the documentation about expert preferences in Observatory. These are obscure or experimental settings that have no corresponding UI controls in the Preferences window. You set them using the Terminal application (/Applications/Utilities/Terminal).

Release notes here.