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Frequently Asked Questions

What's this site about?

DSO Browser has one main purpose: to help amateur astronomers find Deep Sky Objects for their observing and/or astrophotography sessions, wherever they are.

How does it work?

The first thing you'll see when you arrive is a page with a box to enter your location.

After you do so, hit the search button and you'll be taken to a page showing you what you can see tonight from that location: the DSO Browser will automatically calculate approximate sunset/sunrise times for your location and suggest Deep Sky Objects for you sorted by Apparent magnitude for today.

You can also limit the results by object type, apparent magnitude and size, catalogue, observing timeframe within the night, minimum altitude reached in that period, etc.

Remember: the more flexible a tool, the more difficult to master it and the more things to learn. That said, I tried to keep it as simple as I could, but your suggestions through the contact form are always welcome.

Where does the data come from?

Most of the data in this page comes from the Saguaro Astronomy Club, who let me use their Database version 8.1. Thank you! :-)

Since the first import, I've added more information manually such as familiar names for the objects and recalculated the surface brightness.

Note: additional calculations such as rise, transit and set times are approximate and provided just as rough estimates. You should not rely on these for critical tasks.

How accurate calculations are?

Well, it depends on what you mean by 'accurate' :-)

For recreational purposes (which is the whole purpose of this site anyway), it's very accurate.

However, do expect a small difference of a couple of minutes in timings, mainly because of that obsessive-cumpulsive tendency of the Earth to rotate on its axis during its orbit and have longer solar than sidereal days - the truth is, I wanted to make the search quick enough so I had to sacrifice some really minor calculation details.

How many people are involved in this project?

What you see here is the result of one programmer's hard work over many sleepless weeks (that's me!).

I'm actually an amateur astronomer who couldn't find a decent free tool like this one on the web, so I decided to do it.

After having a respectable version ready for myself, I enhanced enough to make it public.

Is this service completely free?

Absolutely! I won't charge anything to use this service as long as I run this site.

I plan to keep working on it adding many cool new features. That said, it's not an easy task and it takes much effort and time, which I have to steal from real freelance projects - that's what I do for a living after all.

It's not easy to devote myself to this when I have to work in other projects, so if you believe this tool is worth it and will help in your observational or and/or astrophotography sessions, your donation (even the smallest) will make it easier for me to put more time into this tool and keep making it better and better.

Can I contact you?

Please, do! You'll find the contact form at the bottom of the page - feel free to use it and send me your comments, suggestions, report any problem, etc.

Thanks for reading up to this point! Now go find some DSO objects!