Tuesday, August 12, 2014

It's all about Fun, Adventures and Food : Randa Meetup 2014, Realtime image search tool in KStars : Astrophotographs browser

Randa Meetup 2014, I never knew KDE meet ups are much more than just work into huge source codes, it's about meeting awesome people from all around the world, it's about adventuring with adventurous workers, it's about delicious food and at last but not least it's about luscious chocolates.

Randa Meetup 2014
KStars is desktop planetarium application under KDE Education Projects. There are some awesome tools in KStars like Moon Phase Calender, Conjunction calculator, What's Intresting, Solar System Viewer, Astrophotograph Browser, What's up tonight, and many more. I am fixing bugs, documenting and polishing few of this tool. On first day of Randa Meetup I added distance measurement tool in Solar System Viewer, it makes KStars an unique application which allows you to measure distance between planets or asteroids on any selected day, no matter past, present or future ;-). So Astrologers won't succeed to fool you by saying that Saturn is coming in your way to lucky Mars, if you have KStars installed on your PC ;-). I then fixed Astrophotograph Browser to download quired images in synchronization with their metadata. So when you will query for real time image uploaded by astrophotographers to astrobin.com, along with high resolution images you will get the information like name of user who has uploaded the image, date, camera used, magnitude and position of the skyobject in photograph etc. I worked on Moon Phase Calender to enable it to display name of the moon in title bar of window.

Well, too much about work. Let's talk about the another adventurous part of Randa Meetup, Hiking. I think few snaps will tell much more than many words.

Randa, Switzerland

Tasch, Switzerland
And not to forget these mouth-watering swiss chocolates. You get lot of them while working ;-)

Swiss Chocolates @ Randa Meetup 2014
Thank you very much Mario Fux and team for organizing such a wonderful meetup. Thanks KDE.

Realtime image search tool in KStars : Astrophotographs browser 

KStars is desktop planetarium application under KDE Education Projects. Majority of the KStars users are students and amateur astronomers who are always eager to see real time images of sky objects. To realize this demand I have developed appealing QML interface to enable users to browse through image database of community of astrophotographers which contains more than 1,00,000 (number is increasing everyday) real time and very high resolution images along with various information related to them. The images are fetched from astrobin.com using astrobin API.

Everyday astrobin.com announces one image from it's database as image of the day on the basis of criteria like votes and comments. When tool is opened, it displays image of the day of previous 20 days in a listview (Figure 1). There is search bar just above listview, where user can type search query and press search button. The images in astrobin.com database, whose title matches the search query will  be fetched along with various information like Date on which image was captured, Bortle Dark-Sky Scale, RA Centre, DEC Centre, Telescope or Camera used, Description added by astrophotographer etc.

Figure 1

One the search is complete, user can click on particular list item to view all information related to an image (Figure 3).

Figure 2
Figure 3
When edit button is clicked, the image will be open in KStars's own image viewer which allows user to mark sky object in image with circle and also lable them as shown in figure 4. This image viewer provides option to zoom in/out and undow changes on image. (Below is snapshot of very basic version of image viewer)

Beside developing astrophotographs browser, I replaced current moon phase images with much more accurate ones. I redesigned moon phase calender to display information related to selected moon phase like lunar phase name and illuminated fraction. I also added option to choose between Northern hemisphere and Southern hemisphere since moon phase view is not the same from both hemispheres (Figure 5).

Figure 5

Now a days I am working on feature to display weather information in almanac tool, fetched from OpenWeatherMap using an API.

BTW, I am attaining this year's Randa meetup where I will discuss with other developers, more ideas about KStars and fix some bugs. Please make little donation : http://www.kde.org/fundraisers/randameetings2014/index.php :) to help us.

PS: You can “checkout” my work from my KStars repository branch – gsoc2014-vijay13.

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