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December 8, 2019: Astroplan v0.6

Merry Christmas, observers!

Just in time for the holidays, there's a new version of astroplan for you to download! You can upgrade quickly with pip install --upgrade astroplan. Here's a little preview of what's in the new version, and an overview of how astroplan has been doing over the last few years as we look back on the decade.

astroplan is an open source, Python observation planning package for astronomers, which helps you plan for everything but the clouds. A detailed recap of the functionality and design decisions behind astroplan is available in the Astronomical Journal, and the online narrative docs contain lots of example code to get you started.

In version 0.6, we've implemented one major addition to the API to make astroplan faster in some use cases. The target/sun/moon rise and set functions now take a new (optional) keyword argument called n_grid_points. This argument sets how finely astroplan searches for target rise and set times. Previously, this parameter's value was fixed to 150, and now it has been exposed in the user-facing API, allowing users to throttle the accuracy of the rise/set time computations in exchange for speed. There are more details about the change in astroplan's narrative docs here, check it out!

This performance improvement was motivated by some of the more demanding use-cases astroplan has encountered over the last year, like scheduling for MMTO, and scheduling for the Terra Hunting Experiment (at the INT).

It has been rewarding to see astroplan catch on "in the wild" over the last few years. Here's how astroplan installation via pip has grown over the last few years:

Without a doubt, 2019 has been a great year for astroplan, thanks to your help. I'm looking forward to 2020!