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  1.    #1  
    <<Mod Edit>>

    Now in the App Catalog Beta Feed!
    http://developer.palm.com/appredirec...isoft.jdistars
    -

    I've been working on an astronomy app for WebOS, mostly because there isn't any that I could find. Being one of the few people I know with a WebOS device, I am turning to the community for feedback on how it works, and what the most important features it may or may not be lacking are.

    Currently, it can calculate a star chart, complete with planets, Sun, and Moon, using either the current date or a provided one, and a GPS location.

    Please see the screen shot:
    http://jdiwnab.no-ip.org/jdistars/screenshot.png
    (Sorry, I can't post links or attach images, as I haven't ever posted before.)

    There are a lot of features that I could think to add, some harder than others. So I ask, what features are most important for such an app? Do you have any recommendations of what to change?

    I am hoping to submit this to the App Catalog at some point, and would greatly appreciate some feedback. PM me if you would like a link to the IPK to try it out.

    Thank you
    Last edited by ryleyinstl; 08/23/2010 at 10:31 AM. Reason: Added full URL :-)
  2. #2  
    I have noticed the lack of astronomy apps in the WebOS catalog and would like additional information on your work. One of my business associates is also a Pre Plus owner and amateur astronomer. I will direct this thread to him to see if he would also be interested in looking into your work. For now let me post your link: http://jdiwnab.no-ip.org/jdistars/screenshot.png
    Palm m130 > Verizon Trēo 650 > Verizon Trēo 755p > Verizon Palm Prē Plus > TouchPad > Verizon Palm Prē 2
    ~ The Future's Just Not What it Used To Be ~
  3.    #3  
    Hi,

    The lack of astronomy apps is rather disappointing, considering there are many very good ones for other platforms. This project started as me wanting to at least be able to tell what was up in the sky where I was. Just having a basic star chart goes a long way.

    This app uses a canvas to draw out the position of the stars and planets, along with the GPS for latitude and longitude, and either the current date and time, or a set one. There is a catalog of 570 or so stars that it plots. There are more that I should probably add, but these are the brightest. It also calculates the positions of the Sun, moon, and planets using some equations for their orbits.

    It does all this without the need of a data connection, just the GPS. This way it will work even if you are out in the middle of no here trying to observe the stars. Web based star charts are nice and all, but when you are in some of the remote areas to get a real dark sky, there might not be any signal to download it with.

    It doesn't do some of the really fancy things like apps for other platforms. I don't draw a 3d sky. I can't tell what part of the sky you are looking at and draw it there. Some of this is my ability, but some is also technical limitations. I don't think the Pre's have the necessary sensors to do the later.

    I'll be glad to have a real amateur astronomer try out my app and give his thoughts, as he would be in the intended audience for sure.

    Thank you.
  4. #4  
    the app for iOS that is seen in the newest iPad ads is the one to beat. I´ve seen it in use on friends´devices and it makes one want to hide whatever device they´re carrying. The word "magical" actually comes to mind...
  5.    #5  
    I agree. I am not sure exactly which app that is in the commercial, but I've seen several that seem to do something similar, both for iPhone, iPad, and Android.

    However, I suspect that the whole 'Window' type feature wouldn't be feasible on the Pre's. If memory serves, such a feature requires both a 3 axis accelerometer and a 2 or 3 axis magnetometer. I believe we have the former, but not the later. I'd be glad to be wrong about this, though.
  6. #6  
    Put this in the Beta App Feed and we would be glad to test it out for you.....
    Sprint|Samsung Epic
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    #7  
    I've used such apps on other devices, and I found them handy. But I'm not, by any stretch of the imagination, familiar with how applications are created, so I may be repeating some of the things you've already included.

    But, for your consideration (and I realize this can be a daunting task):

    *Constellation lines and borders which can be turned on or off.
    *The ability to customize the location of the user (I think you've included this lready.), and inclusion of a list of common locations around the country / world.

    *The abililty to load comet orbital elements, eclipse data and graphics, meteor shower radiants, rise/set times for the major objects (Sun, Moon, planets, comets, etc.)

    *Moon phases, times and graphics.

    *Data on planets (distances from Earth and/or Sun, phases (where applicable)).

    *The abililty to "zoom" to a particular location in the sky by right ascension and declination.

    *A grid of right ascension / declination lines which can be turned on and off.

    *MANY more stars, and the ability to choose the number of stars by stellar magnitude in half-magnitude increments.

    *Labels for stars, perhaps the brightest 100 - 200.

    Thanks for considering this!

    Mike Lynch
    Frankfort KY USA
  8. #8  
    Since the Pre and Pixi have no compass or magnetometer, it may be difficult to have all the functionality of some of the iPhone apps, but any star chart app is a step in the right direction.
    Palm m130 > Verizon Trēo 650 > Verizon Trēo 755p > Verizon Palm Prē Plus > TouchPad > Verizon Palm Prē 2
    ~ The Future's Just Not What it Used To Be ~
  9.    #9  
    I just submitted the app to the beta feed. It stated that it might take up to 2 hours, but I here's the URL

    http://developer.palm.com/appredirec...isoft.jdistars

    *Constellation lines and borders which can be turned on or off.
    This is one of the ones I wanted to add. I don't know about the borders, but I do want to add the constellation lines.

    *The ability to customize the location of the user (I think you've included this lready.), and inclusion of a list of common locations around the country / world.
    Currently, it only uses the GPS to grab the location. I was toying with the idea of integrating with Google Maps to grab a location that way. I'll have to look into this more.

    *The abililty to load comet orbital elements, eclipse data and graphics, meteor shower radiants, rise/set times for the major objects (Sun, Moon, planets, comets, etc.)
    As for comet data, I couldn't find a good source for how to calculate that, along with eclipse data, and meteor shower data. This might be something I have to poll a web service for. I have an idea for Rise and Set times for the object I do have. I am thinking a list.

    *Moon phases, times and graphics.
    I do support calculating the phase of the moon. I couldn't figure out how to draw the crecent on WebOS, as it seems that the curves I was using for in-browser development do not work. So, for now, you can see an approximation, with whole, new, and the two halves.

    *Data on planets (distances from Earth and/or Sun, phases (where applicable)).
    I do calculate the distance from the earth and sun for planets, but I don't expose it anywhere. The phase of the planets might be difficult, as I couldn't find a source for those equations. I'll keep looking, but this is a little lower on my list, IMO.

    *The abililty to "zoom" to a particular location in the sky by right ascension and declination.
    I especially want to add some kind of Zoom and Pan feature. I am not sure how to do that with the Canvas yet. This is one of the top ones that I want, but probably not the first in this list that will get done.

    *A grid of right ascension / declination lines which can be turned on and off.
    There is a grid, but it is almost arbitrary, and only apply to the Altitude and Azimuth. the radial lines are at 30 degree increments, and the circular grid seems to be about the same for Altitude. Would it be better to calculate a RA/DEC grid rather than a Alt/Az grid?

    *MANY more stars, and the ability to choose the number of stars by stellar magnitude in half-magnitude increments.
    Currently, there are about 570 of the brightest stars. I used a cataglog of bright stars and sorted by magnitude, and got all those about, about magnitude 5. I then added a few that where obviously missing (the stars of the little dipper, for instance). I chose that number as it seemed to look about right for a night sky when it was drawn. Also, the full database would have been at least 20MB. I suppose I can take a lot more stars and make it controllable.

    *Labels for stars, perhaps the brightest 100 - 200.
    I am doing something like this. I chose to label all stars above a certain magnitude. An earlier version had the threshold lower, but the map seemed busy. If I get the zoom to work well, I think I could dynamically lower the threshold as you zoom in so you see more names.

    I greatly appreciate your comments. These are the kind of things I was looking for. I hadn't even thought about phase of planets, comets or meteor showers.
    Last edited by ryleyinstl; 08/23/2010 at 10:30 AM. Reason: Activated URL
  10. #10  
    The last software I used was Planetarium on my Palm TX, by Andreas Hofer (Planetarium for the Palm Computing Platform). That website lists its features, which you may find helpful.

    You might consider having several star databases, grouped by magnitude, that can be downloaded separately, if database size is an issue.

    Once you have zooming implemented, then you can determine what minimum magnitude to show for a given zoom level (i.e. the more you're zoomed in, the more room on the screen to show higher magnitude stars).

    A "Find" function is always nice, but requires listing function of stars and constellations. Maybe start with the "usual" lists, like Messier objects, etc.

    As a rank amateur, I actually prefer altitude/azimuth, but I think you'll want to also offer RA/Dec.

    I like seeing the ecliptic. And a display option for red objects on a black background is always appreciated, for preserving night vision.

    Regards,
    Tom
  11.    #11  
    Thanks for the link. That might give me some ideas of how to design an interface.

    The red-on-black should be fairly easy to implement. I'm not sure how to draw the user controls with red-on-black, but the chart itself should be easy.

    I might be able to trim the database that I have. It has several columns that I probably don't need at all.

    I think that, like that old PalmOS app, I could get a reasonable number of deep space object that could be selectively turned on. Searching shouldn't be too much of an issue, but I don't know what UI I would want to implement for it yet.

    I guess another question might be, what would be the *minimum* feature set before you would consider buying such an app? I kinda want to push something out for people to use, and then add features based on some priority such as we have been discussing.

    I'm thinking that, either it's good right now to start, or I should at least add zoom, selectable locations, and a red-on-black UI to start.
  12.    #12  
    I just posted an update to this app to the beta feed. It might take it a bit before it goes live.

    I added a night vision mode, and the ability to define your location manually. It also has a crude form of zooming. Apparently the canvas doesn't want to resize normally, so it only scaled the image with blury, but larger, results. If you could kindly take a peek and let me know what you think.
  13.    #13  
    I'm not trying to post so many times in a row, but it seems I am anyway.

    Anyway, I'd like to thank everybody for the great feedback and enthusiasm. There has been a lot of interest (at least I think so), and lots of good ideas. I am removing the app from the beta feed for now to add a few thousand things more . I will submit it to the full App Catalog soon, giving me time to setup the website, and other support details.

    Until then, for those that have downloaded JdiStars already, enjoy. I'll always accept more input.

    Thank you.
  14.    #14  
    One last post, I promise.

    JdiStars is now JdiSky and is in the App Catalog.
    Palm USA | Palm webOS Applications | Mobile apps that go further.

    Check out the Web page for more information
    JdiSoft » Blog Archive » JdiSky

    Thank you to everyone who gave me feedback and suggestions. More updates will be on their way.
  15. #15  
    Thanks for the app, please keep working on it or ask palm developers for more help.
    If this helped you hit thanks.
  16. #16  
    I am using the beta version, would love to have an ability, where I tap on a star and it tells me the name of the star.
    If this helped you hit thanks.
  17. #17  
    As I zoom in the resolution gets very poor , very hard to read Uranus (I think thats what it is) I am NYC and its almost half way into south. Plus more names should pop up as one zooms in
    If this helped you hit thanks.
  18.    #18  
    Hi,

    Thank you for the feedback.

    In the released version, I made the zooming a little better. It doesn't blur as much as the beta version. I am working on improving this for the next version. It is currently my top priority. A part of that will include drawing more stars and star names as you zoom.

    Currently the zoom is just expanding the existing image. The released version draws at a higher resolution than the beta, allowing you to zoom more before it gets blurry. The version I'm working on will redraw the view as you zoom, so I can add more details as you go. The math involved is actually quite tricky.
  19. #19  
    I bought JdiSky yesterday and I would like to be able to manually rotate the star chart to orient the chart. I believe this is one of the coming soon features.

    I am just starting out as an amateur astronomer and it's perfect for me.
  20.    #20  
    I plan on adding the ability to swap N/S and E/W directions as it's just a matter of swapping the draw direction based on a preference. I plan on this right after the zoom. It might be in the next verision, or right after. I don't know what my release plan is yet.

    Is that the kind of manual adjustments you are referring to? Or are you hoping to rotate it more manually than that? If you are wanting complete manual rotation, that might be tricky.
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