Archive for June, 2009

More updates from SoC

Well, its been really long since I posted about the work I’d done so far.

The first thing that I’d like to mention is, I’ve made it possible to filter objects by their magnitude in the What’s Up Tonight Dialog, now this makes life much easier if you have a big catalog and you just would like to know about the objects that you can see with the naked eye or with the telescope. And there is even a slider there for comfortably setting the magnitude. Now the What’s Up Tonight Dialog looks like :


The other new features are :

1. You can view the bigger version of the DSS/SDSS image previews in a separate imageviewer. This enables you to see finer details better, which might prove helpful for star “hopping”.

2. You can now, save the images of all objects in the session list just by a single click, and they’re nearly saved for usage in during the observation session.

3. Okay, so now, you’re worried of your disk space and you decide to clean up all the stored images, now KStars allows you to do that again by the click of a single button.

So, now the Observation Planner looks like


And, look below to see the imageviewer in action :


😀 yeah, Astronomy is cool indeed!

And, currently I’m working on creating Observation Logs in XML format, with features like export to OAL(Open Astronomy Log) schema – compliant logs. What has been done till now is that, we can export target lists in the COMAST schema’s format, which means we can exchange stuff amongst other desktop planetarium software! To view one sample list, visit this link.


SDSS images!

I finally got the SDSS images support up in the Observation Planner. Now the planner does a search for the SDSS images and displays the DSS image if the requested RA/Dec is out of the SDSS footprint. Though the current implementaion is a sneaky little trick, no one could find/offer a better and shorter method for doing it. Plus it works!

But you might ask whats so special about these SDSS images, well take a look yourself 🙂




Yes Ladies and Gentlemen they are in colour! Now isn’t that cool?

Plus this completes the Previews section of my SoC proposal 😉 (Now thats cooler right? 😀 )

GSoC Update – 2

Ha, its been really long since I updated my blog on the progress in SoC.
This post is about two major changes that I’ve created in the Observing List UI.

1. The WishList + Session View:

The WishList view contains a list of objects that you’d wish to observe sometime, somewhere. This is like a super set of all objects that you’ll observe in all sessions. And you can add objects from anywhere in KStars, and even better it is auto saved.
The Session View contains the list of the objects you’d want to observe in a specific session. This is a specific list of objects from the WishList that is planned for observation. In this view, you can even set the time at which you want to observe the objects, which is defaulted to the transit time to make it user friendly. The advantages of this time setting is that it provides the Altitude and Azimuth coordinates for ease of observation. More features to come are displaying the telescope’s current coordinates if any telescope is connected and is active. The session list can be saved and loaded(which loads all parameters including the Date, Location, Time, etc.). And as mentioned in the previous post you can view the Altitude vs Time graph, plus now, you can now set the date and time and this will compute the RA and Dec coordinates with recomputing them including precession and nutation considerations.

2. The DSS image tool:

One nice feature integrated in the Observing List now is the DSS image preview. For any selected object, the user can get the DSS image by a single click, and it auto saves the images, with the option of discarding them on exit in case you want to save hard disk space. And if any image exists, this detects it and loads it instead of loading the image from the web. This is useful as, you’ll almost never have an active Internet connection in the observation area. Again, another new feature to come is the SDSS image tool, which is available for one quarter of the sky the main advantage of SDSS images is that they are not gray-scale images! So it’ll make the Observing List even cooler.

Thats it for the updates now, for a quick look of the changes, the Observing List which used to be:


Now has become:


See, its getting cooler and cooler. And if the logs are worked upon to be compatible with the OAL, our observing planner will beat lots of existant commercial software left right and center.

Cheers and happy Kontibuting. Until the next post, signing off.