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Using Unicode Characters in User Designations

Deep-Sky Planner has improved support for Unicode characters in Observing Plans and the Observing Log. Although you can enter Unicode characters into user designations - Object (User), there are some important considerations.


Suppose you want to enter the double star Sigma Cassiopeia into an observing plan:

Plan Editor
Enter Ʃ Cas in User Designation

Double stars in particular present numerous methods of naming the star. Since Deep-Sky Planner includes the WDS catalog, it uses the WDS designation as its system-preferred, unique identifier for double stars. In this case, it is WDS 23590+5545AB.

The double star can also be called Sigma Cas or STF 3049 (as it is also known by Common Names in Deep-Sky Planner), Sigma Cassiopeia, Ʃ Cas, Struve 3049, Ʃ 3049.

Using the system-preferred designation or a Common Name known in the database is the best practice because these designations are known throughout the system. Entering these forms allows detailed object information to be accessed in the database - items like RA, Declination, separation, etc.

If you choose to enter a different form of designation, like Ʃ Cas, please note the following:

If you can accept these drawbacks, there are some advantages:

Plan report
Ʃ Cas is correct in report

If you Add an observation for the object using the Observations tab in the Observing Plan Report, the user designation is copied into the new observation.

Notice in the newly added observation that:

observation editor
Ʃ Cas is copied into the Observation Editor

In summary, using Unicode characters in object designations has several drawbacks, so it isn't for everone. However, it has some unique advantages that can mitigate confusion with designations, especially with double stars.