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Sky Track Help

The Sky Track display is meant to be viewed as a full screen display. You can change the size of the window, but doing so will cause some contents of the window not to be displayed. It will not resize the contents of the window, simply the window itself.

In the upper left of the display are 4 directional push buttons that aid in navigating around the display. Since the entire pass may not fit on one screen, some scrolling around may be necessary in order to view the entire pass. Note that the Sky Track is displayed on a polar grid (right ascension and declination) not the traditional linear grid. As such, the up/down arrows will scroll the display roughly in an up and down direction corresponding to increasing or decreasing declination. You are not permitted to scroll past the celestial poles to avoid confusion by looking at inverted constellations. In that case, you will need to rotate the display and scroll downward instead of upward. This may require a little practice to get the hang of it. Conversely, the left/right arrows will scroll the display roughly in a left and right direction corresponding to increasing or decreasing right ascension. The combination of all 4 arrows may be required to view the pass as you would like. The first point in the track will always be centered in the display when first viewed. After that, you can scroll to whatever orientation you would like.

The Sky Track display also has some options that you will need to know about. They are located in the upper left hand corner of the display much like other applications with drop down menus. The two options are "View" and "Options".

The "View" menu can invoke 4 options for viewing the Sky Track display. First, the constellation lines can either be displayed (default) or turned off via a check box next to the option. It is highly recommended to turn the constellations on since locating the satellite will be made much easier. Second, the names of the constellations can be displayed as well. Third, bright star names can be turned on (default) or off in order to create excellent landmarks in the sky for making an observation. Finally, grid lines can be displayed that show the polar presentation of the sky. The grid lines are not on by default since they can add to the redrawing requirements that Sky Track demands. They are useful, however, if you get stuck navigating around the display and have difficulty following the track.

The "Options" menu can invoke 2 options (or functions) that the display can perform. First is the "Set Step Size" function. This function will set the number of degrees the display will scroll for each press of the navigation arrow buttons. The default is 10 degrees which is reasonable for most cases. The second function is the "Set Zoom" function. This function will allow you to zoom in or out of the display. The default value is 80 degrees of (roughly one half of the sky) which is reasonable for most cases. Note that values that are too small (< 40) or too large (> 130) will make the display difficult to view.

Note: No provision is made to print the Sky Track. If a printed copy is desired, it is suggested that you use the "Print Screen" button on the keyboard and then paste the clip board contents into your own imaging software to be printed.

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: Amiko Kauderer | Updated: 09/23/2011
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