In the last few months I started again deditcating more time on astronomy and star gazing.
To better organize my star gazing sessions I started developing a software capable of suggesting celestial object from various catalogues, choosing them among the best visible ones for the selected date and place, and that’s how SkyPlanner got started.
SkyPlanner has many features useful for visual observations: it allows searching and even suggests many objects from many catalogues, such as Messier, NGC/IC, Abell, Arp, MCG, UGC; provides information about the star gazing session, for instance weather, sun and moon rise/set time, moon phase; allows you to set your own telescopes, automatically estimating each object difficulty for the selected instrument; downloads preview images of the object field from the Digitized Sky Survey Archive, presents additional catalogue information and allows you to set your own notes before and after the visual observation.
The objects list is automatically sorted by transit time, creating a printer-friendly star gazing schedule.
I hope this software will help many of you organizing your best star gazing sessions!
A special thanks to Alessia, who helped in many ways, providing suggestions, ideas, testing, writing some catalogues importers.
Happy star gazing!
As i wrote some days ago, I planned on doing some hack so control KStars with a Wiimote.
It turned out KStars isn’t the right target, as it seems to have no plug-in support (and I don’t want to modify core yet, as i’m still in an experimental phase).
But reading data from wiimote and correctly interpreting was already done some days ago, thought it was a little bit hard, so I switched to Stellarium instead.
This is the result:
Of course it’s just experimental code, it’s barely usable.. but it’s a start.
Source is here: https://github.com/rockman81/StellariumWiimotePlugin
Now some technical stuff:
The Wiimote gyro sensors aren’t easy to read, as they don’t send you current angle, but only
It doesn’t report current angle, instead it does report angular speed.
But afterall you can deduce current angle just dividing speed by elapsed time between each message report.
I had to do some tries before finding the proper way of “moving view window” on Stellarium.
It’s not so well documented, and i’m not exactly happy about current solution, but it works, and i’ll ask some help in their mailing list soon.
This solution anyway is easier than i thought, as it only receives as input angles delta, meaning it’s also easy to “align” your telescope to stellarium (just point an object with telescope, then manually point stellarium to that object).
Finalmente sono riuscito a finire l’elaborazione di un insieme di riprese lunari che avevo girato ad agosto 2011.
Ci ho messo parecchio sia per mancanza di tempo, sia perchè per elaborare avevo bisogno di registax.. che però esiste solo per windows (e io windows, per definizione, non lo avvio praticamente mai...).
Alla fine sono riuscito a capire come farlo funzionare con wine su Linux, senza fargli occupare tonnellate di RAM (il grosso problema è che con registax con wine non gestisce gli AVI compressi... ma esportando l’avi in immagini PNG è miracolosamente andato), e quindi a riprendere l’elaborazione.
Dati di ripresa: ho usato un Celestron Astromaster 130EQ, focale 650mm, fuoco diretto.
Webcam Microsoft Lifecam HD 3000, risoluzione 1280×720 (un po’ troppo rumorosa sugli oggetti deboli, ma tutto sommato accettabile per uso astronomico).
Ho elaborato i filmati con Registax 6, quindi messo insieme il mosaico con Hugin, splendido software Open Source (si, anche per Linux, niente wine quindi).
Il mosaico risultante è stato poi rielaborato con Gimp.