NEO Planner V3.0.7 (January, 22 2022)

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NEO Planner  -  Planning tool for NEO and comets for IAU observatories, interested observers welcome!

Introduction   Installation   Update    What is new (with history)   


The idea for NEO Planner comes from Free Basic planning programs for personal use, which I have been written and used since 2017 on K87.
NEO Planner however, has been developed with Microsoft Visual Studio since spring 2020.
Thanks to the active support of Father Christoph Gerhard OSB from the neighboring monastery observatory K74 Muensterschwarzach, NEO Planner could be prepared for global use.
His math skills as an engineer and his tips and time for testing helped me immensely in creating a usable version of NEO Planner for IAU observatories in general.
NEO Planner is off course not intended for surveys, but rather for amateurs or professional observatories with telescopes from 20cm up to about 1 m in diameter.

NEO Planner is able to calculate the exposure times, the required number of exposures and the positions of currently observable comets, NEO and NEOCP objects
on the basis of MPC, Horizons and Scout data and and bring them in a time sequence for each location and for any equipment.

In addition, NEO Planner automatically monitors the NEOCP and provides the user with important current changes, both visually and, if desired, acoustically.
NEO Planner can work with both Astrometrica and Tycho.

If desired, the planning and ephemeris can be uploaded to a website to be followed from any location.
An internal sniping tool enables timer controlled hard copies of the screen and the viewing of the night sessions via the website.

And many features more...

Due to years of experience in measuring comets, asteroids, NEO or NEOCP objects,
I found the laborious preparation of the manual search and compilation of objects for the night session to be time-consuming and in no way motivating.
In the past, I usually spent several hours preparing and then spent sleepless hours during the night manually positioning, focusing, and readjusting the objects.

Due to a professional affinity for programming and process improvement, I finally thought about how I could give my motivation to observe and measure the objects
of the solar system a boost and then decided to take the programming into my own hands.
The deployment of NEO Planner is a consequent step to share the functions of the program with all interested observers.
During the often long periods of bad observation weather at my location, the program should also be usable for other stations.
NEO Planner is basically suitable for all observatories with IAU code, regardless of whether the observation is done manually or fully automatically,
whether you just watch for a few hours or all night. Simply pick those objects from the list that seem interesting to you.

The new function of displaying and saving the Revise, Object information window or ephemeris on the minute for each object in the planning list
enables individually coordinated observation of selected objects. This extension is based on a suggestion by Bernd Koch, B72/G04.
The observer or his colleagues can now call up the ephemeris, the Revise or Object information window  on any PC, laptop, pad or smartphone via links at any location,
in order to be independent of the planning computer.

Version 2.4 gives the active observer of NEOCP objects the possibility to recognize all changes on the NEOCP at the push of a button and to adapt his observation scheme accordingly.

In version 3.0, automatic background monitoring enables the optical and acoustic detection of changes on the NEOCP. Important parameters have also been added for Tycho users.

The program is also coded with a hardware key and runs only on authorized computers.
NEO Planner is Registerware (Freeware requiring registration) and does not use cookies, neither tracking nor tracing.
To make maintenance easier in the event of problems, NEO Planner transfers some files of the planning process to my server every time the program is closed
so that I can see your planning results.
These files are particularly useful for quickly identifying initial difficulties. The transmission can be switched off later if desired.

NEO Planner is based on free Microsoft .net technology and runs perfectly on Windows 10 with Framework 4.7.2. upwards.
I deliberately do not use paid features from Microsoft such as security certificates or Azure test servers.
The planning program should be freely usable and dispense with actually useless, but chargeable beauty features.
A stable internet connection is mandatory. The version of the framework is decisive. Please check the possible Windows version on this link.

No app comes out of the socket and any program can contain errors. I ask for a benevolent report if recognizable errors occur.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please send me an Email.

German speaking NEO Planner Group in SIGNAL:
Communication in English possible.



Installation process:

Before you contact me, first click through the navigation bar on this page above and read all the explanations carefully.
If your IAU observatory is equipped for the requirements, you are welcome to contact me using the procedure below.
Note that preparing to use NEO Planner will take some time.
The process is as follows:

1. Send me an Email, please. After that, I'll send you a link to a shared folder. Then download the file to your computer.
2. Unzip the .zip file to a folder of your choice, but not to C: \ neosettings!
2a. After unzipping the download folder must contain the following files:

      Neo Planner.exe, WinSCP.exe, winscp.ini, WinSCPnet.dll

2b. If the loading over the descriped method doesn't suceed, try to load the setup program over this link and store into a folder of your choice, but not to
C: \ neosettings!

      After unzipping  call Neo Planner.exe and follow the instructions.

Hint: If a Firewall of your computer is blocking the download, send an Email to me, please. May be we find another method to load the setup.

3. Call Neo Planner.exe only once! Ignore warning messages from Windows or the firewall. An internet connection is mandatory.
4. A folder C: \ neosettings is created and all necessary programs and files are loaded into this folder.
    I also get information that NEO Planner has loaded on your computer on my web server! Only hardware information is transmitted here.
    Now, send a Email to me, please, that you did the first step and wait for my response..

Hint: You can also send the hardware information to me via Email. Attach this file C:/neosettings/hardware_sich.txt please.

5. After reading the information from your computer, I will approve it for the use of NEO Planner.
    Before the activation takes place, I'll send you a few questions about your equipment to test the settings for your observatory.
    Keep in mind that in my time zone and because of my job, I may not react immediately.
6. You can only use the program after I included the hardware code in the observatory list and have given my approval via Email.
7. NEO Planner is called up using the shortcut created or by calling up the Neo Planner.exe program in the C: \ neosettings folder.
8. First carry out all the settings in the order from top to bottom before using other functions of the program.
    Follow the instructions here on the web on how to best prepare NEO Planner for planning the coming night.
9. Confirm, if requested, all programs from NEO Planner as trustworthy.
     Report bugs you encounter in a constructive and friendly manner, please.
     The description of the program here on the web is not yet complete and will be supplemented over time.




Update process:

If a new version is available, NEO Planner will indicate this when it starts. You can then carry out the upload immediately, or you can do this manually later using the menu bar.

1. On NEO Planner header line click on Maintenance and Update.
2. Push the "Download Programs" button:

Most of the NEO Planner programs are loaded into the C: \ neosettings folder with a different name.
Close the Update Window now.

3. Push the "Neo Planner Updater" shortcut on your desktop or call NeoPlannerUpdater.exe from the C: \ neosettings folder.

After pushing the "Activating Updates" button, the old programs will be deleted and the new programs will be renamed to their active program names.
Close the Updater now.

4. Call NEO Planner again and enjoy the new features.


What is new?

Latest Update: January, 22 2022   V3.0.7

- Adjustment of the explanations for the NEOCP Check window.

- NEO Ranking window:

  Additional sorting by object possible.   In addition, when a line is marked, the object is also marked   in the Revise and Object Information Window and   appears in the display.
  Integration of the Earth BUSY Neighborhood EBN data into   the NEO ranking incl. JPL Sentry marking.

Update: January, 9 2022   V3.0.6

- Ephemeris Detail Window:  'Observation changed' in the header of the display changes the color to RED when the active NEOCP check notices changes in the number of observations of the object.
  In this case the ephemeris should be recalculated. The warning message is also displayed on the HTM page (SAVE list button).
  New button 'Refresh':
The calculation of the ephemeris is carried out again with the basic settings.

- Replace the F1 and F12 key in the Revise Window for moving positions in the planning list with the F6 key, with which the new position of the object can be entered directly.

Update: January, 6 2022   V3.0.5

- Extension of the screenshot window by the possibility of creating up to four hard copies. These can now be selected on up to two screens using a snipping tool method.

Update: January, 2 2022   V3.0.4

- Creation of explanations for the utility function screenshots.
- Some minor fixes.

Update: December, 29 2021   V3.0.3

- Log of changes on the NEOCP: Click on a line to see all of the object's entries.
- The target name is now correctly displayed in the Show Changes and Log of changes on the NEOCP windows during the background check.
- The target name is now updated in the log of changes on the NEOCP window for all entries of the object.
- The sorting order of the ADD / Update timestamp now works correctly in the Show Changes and Log of Changes on the NEOCP windows.

-  The new function Utilities / Screenshots is available:
An internal sniping tool enables timer controlled hard copies of the screen and the viewing of the night sessions via the website.

Update: December, 27 2021   V3.0.2

- The content of the NEOCP Check log has been corrected.
- Creation of screenshots and automatic upload to a website in progress.
- Some minor fixes.

Update: December, 23 2021   V3.0.1

- The Object Details Window can now be called correctly from the statistics and shows the M.P.E.C. of the objects.
- The log of the NEOCP check now correctly shows the timestamp.
- Marking objects in the Revise or Object Information Window causes each other to be marked.
- The calculation of the number of images/object of NEO in the Revise Window is now based on the ephemeris of the MPC and no longer based on the last 10 measurements.
- There is now a message about a possible NEO Planner update when loading the program.
- Some minor fixes.

Update: December, 18 2021   V3.0.0

- Automatic background monitoring and logging enables the optical and acoustic detection of changes on the NEOCP.

- Important parameters have also been added for Tycho users. The required sky background can now also be determined using Tycho values.

Update: December, 04 2021   V2.4.5

- The new NEO Ranking window enables sorting according to the columns "last observation", "Earth MOID", "H", flyby date "or flyby distance fields.
  After planning has been carried out, a button in the Object Information Window takes you to the NEO ranking display, where you can sort the planning list
  and search for objects according to your own preferences.

Latest Update: November, 27 2021   V2.4.4

- Display of rejected objects in a new window. After every scheduling will update the display. The reasons for the sorting out are the location in the west and east or too close a moon distance.
- Some small extensions and improvements.

 Update: November, 13 2021   V2.4.3

- NEOCP Check can now only be called up if an Execute Planning has been carried out beforehand.
- Small extensions and improvements.

Update: November, 06 2021   V2.4.2

- NEOCP Check has been upgraded in the Show Changes Window by the option of sorting by object, score, number of observations, Vmag, H, Arc, not seen,
  Add / Update, R.A., Declination and Discovery date. The sorting enables a listing according to preferences.
  Changes in the columns compared to the previous NEOCP check are displayed in dark red.

Update: October, 28 2021   V2.4.1

- Display of previous observations of NEOCP objects published by the MPC with a double click on the NEOCP object in the Revise, Object Information and Show Changes Windows.
- The Show Changes Window is now displayed correctly when loading or refreshing

Update: October, 21 2021   V2.4.0

Version 2.4 gives the active observer of NEOCP objects the possibility to recognize all changes on the NEOCP at the push of a button and to adapt his observation scheme accordingly.

What is new?

- The determination of the observable NEO per observatory code is no longer carried out via the NEAm00.txt of the MPC, but via the new API Web Service of the Horizons system of the JPL.
  This significantly reduces the loading time of the NEO's ephemeris, which is good for the overall performance of the Execute process.
  The loading of the observable NEO of the coming night is now carried out according to the parameters defined by NEO Planner such as minimum altitude or limitation of magnitude.
- In addition, it is now possible to call up an update of the current NEOCP objects at any time when NEO Planner is actively loaded.
  The update determines which new objects have been added to the NEOCP or which objects have been removed from the list.
  If NEOCP objects meanwhile have a M.P.E.C. publication and have received a provisional number, NEO Planner recognizes this,
  determines the new ephemeris from the MPC and then displays the object in the Revise Window.
  In addition, all changes to the NEOCP objects since the last call are determined and highlighted in color in the Object Information Window.
  This applies, for example, changes in the score, the magnitude, the last update of timestamp or the number of observations.

Update: July, 23 2021   V2.3.16

What is new?

- Possibility of entering the maximum brightness of NEOCP objects, NEO or comets in the Execute Planing Window. The brightnesses are saved in the settings.
- Entry of the start time for planning is now taken into account. It can be entered manually in the Execute Planning Window
  and must be between the automatically calculated start time and midnight.

Update: July, 6 2021   V2.3.15

What is new?

- Automatic adjustment of the ListView height in information windows according to the screen resolutions of the PC or laptop.

Update: June, 22 2021   V2.3.14

What is new?

- Some fixes.
- All NEOCP objects are now integrated into the planning routines according to the settings, which were previously selected in the neocpselect.txt file.
  In earlier versions, some previously selected objects were not integrated into the planning. This bug has been fixed. Thanks to Bernd and Christoph for the hint!
- New design of the ephemeris display of all object types. Up to 8 hours can now be selected. The hourly scrolling forwards and backwards via F1 and F12 is no longer supported.
- Additional backup of the Ephemeris Window for each object as an .HTM file.

Update: June, 18 2021   V2.3.13

What is new?

- Some fixes.
- Additional backup of the Object Information Window as an .HTM file.
  Now both the Revise Window and the Object Information Window can be saved as an HTM file on the NEO Planner Server and accessed or linked for free use on the Internet via any browser.

Update: June, 13 2021   V2.3.11 and V2.3.12

What is new?

- Some fixes.
- Additional selection E for objects in the Revise Window. Hourly display of ephemeris from NEO, NEOCP and comets with the option to scroll forwards and backwards.
  dRA and dDec are also displayed for all objects.
- Additional backup of the Revise Window as an .HTM file. The result of the current planning can thus be found by anyone on the Internet at any time.

Update: May, 25 2021   V2.3.10 

What is new?

- Supply of a SAVE list button to save the monthly / yearly statistics  windows in .jpg, .txt and .csv format in the archive folder.

Update: May, 16 2021   V2.3.9

What is new?

- Optical adjustment of the column widths in the Revise and Object Information window.
- Additional columns in the Revise Window: Display of the dRA and dDec proper motion of NEOCP objects to enable the proper movement in RA and Dec for direct tracking of the objects.
- Completion of the flyby data of objects up to 0.5 AU distance in the Object Information window from ESA and CNEOS web services.
- Supply of a SAVE list button to save the Revise and Object Information windows in .jpg, .txt and .csv format in the archive folder.

Thanks to Bernd Koch for his great tips!  more links of Bernd: here and here

Update: April, 25 2021   V2.3.8

- Enter a desired personal start time in the revise screen and mark the objects accordingly. The auto mode is of course retained.
- Execute Planning selection with or without comets.
- Possibility to manage your own objects such as self-discovered asteroids or objects of interest and to integrate them in Execute Planning.
- An extended display in the Window Object Information with date, distance in AU / km and lunar distances when the objects are closest,
  based on
an automated data access from ESA's NEOCC site for NEOCP objects.
- The complete revision of the object sequence according to sidereal time and RA position for use across all time zones and hemispheres.

Update: March, 29 2021   V2.3.7

- Complete revision of the determination of the highest altitudes of the objects to avoid misinterpretations.
- Due to the better performance of the access to the MPC databases, all numbered objects within the specified parameters are now also included in the calculations.
  Objects like the well-known (99942) Apophis are thus also displayed.

Update: March, 21 2021   V2.3.6

- Expansion of statistics to include annual overviews.
- Additional sorting of countries:

Update: January, 30 2021   V2.3.5

- Summaries of daily and monthly statistics:

  All observations are displayed per day with the option of selecting by days. 
  There is also a monthly statistic of all observatories with summaries of discoveries, MPEC confirmations and daily observation updates of comets and asteroids with sorting functions.
  When clicking on objects, corresponding Informations are shown, also MPC data and JPL orbiltal graphics of the objects are displayed in your browser.

Update: January, 10 2021   V2.3.4

- Display statistics for daily observations of the MPC. 

- Double-Click on Revise, Object Information and Observation screens for links to detailed informations of the selected object on MPC and JPL sites.

Update: December, 30 2020   V2.3.3

- Including medium NEO diameter and NEO score

- Expansion of the comet selection to include the most recently observed comets of the CometasObs observers.
- Improvement of the object information about the last consignment from CometasObs.

These extensions compensate the disadvantage of the very delayed publication of new comet observations by the MPC.

Update: November, 13 2020   V2.3.2

- some corrections of program bugs while loading NEO data

Update: November, 05 2020   V2.3.2

- some corrections of program bugs

- some more explanations

- including a license code based on hardware information!

Update: October, 15 2020   V2.3.1

- CGI Query support from JPL Scout CNEOS site for NEOCP objects

- Computation of R.A. and Declination of NEOCP objects according to the observation time (Scout)

- Object Information with coloured Earth MOID - outside Moon orbit: Blue, inside Moon orbit: Green, inside half Moon orbit: Red, inside satellite orbits: Dark Red

- Colored marking of the active observatory in the object information if it has the last observation.

Update: October, 07 2020   V2.2

- Complete revision of the Execute Planning tab

- Interactive editing of the daily template in the Revise Button

- Additional Button for Object Information

Update: September, 27 2020    V2.1

- Displays the ephemeris of NEOs and comets of a calculated optimal observation time.

- Display of the meridian transit time of NEOs and comets as the best observation time.
   The best times for NEOCP objects will be recalculated in the next release.

- Activation of the NO-GO areas, useful for German mounts and others who avoid the meridian passage.

- Correction of some bugs and improving the Update feature. 

Neo planner software


Copyright: The author of NEO Planner and all sites of this web is Bernhard Haeusler, Dettelbach, Germany, all rights reserved