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DSO Planner (Android astronomy app)

dso observing planetarium software
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#1 halx

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 03:43 PM

Dear colleagues! Let me introduce you the new advanced astronomy app posted to the Google Android market today - the Deep Sky Observations Planner. Please, welcome the new kid on the block!

 

logo.png

 

 

Almost three years ago, together with a friend of mine, we have decided to employ our Android programming skills on a spare time and make a dedicated and highly pliable hand-held tool to support our long term passion - the Deep Sky Objects visual observing... After 2 years of intense field use and gradual home polishing that Android based app became so efficient for the task and joyful to use that we have decided to improve the effort and generalize our ideas... And finally, now we are ready to share our invention with the world!

 

We believe the resulting application is extremely simple to understand and really easy to use for planning the night and for the sky navigation right at the telescope's eyepiece, even single handed, or while resting in the chair between observing sessions. Yet it is so powerful and flexible, that you can plan your entire Deep Sky observing night while dark-adapting in the dusk, and you can alter your plans on the fly any time in between! And all of that without taking out the joy of manually hopping with your telescope between stars if you so wish!

 

No matter how complex your observing program usually is, the DSO Planner can be adapted almost to anything you might have in mind for the night, thanks to the infinitely extendable DSO databases pool, which you can manage and build yourself exactly to your liking, share both ways with other users of the app, and surely by downloading them online (conversion might be required), and to the specialized objects filtering wizard and the simplified database request language as well.

 

And that's just the tip of the iceberg! What would you say about totally custom databases with any information you want to have at hands? Fast switchable multiple observing lists? Databases for your telescopes and eyepieces? Offline images for all NGC/IC (from the famous http://www.ngcicproject.org project)? Downloadable and manageable right on the star chart DSS images? DSO contours? Integrated voice and text notes database for each object? Social networks data and observation lists sharing, including right on Cloudy Nights? Data importing and exporting? Marked objects batch operations? Advanced Telrad tool? A blindly operated astro-flashlight? Integrated smart launcher for third party astronomy applications with shared clipboard? Several interface skins and fine-tunable colors for every element of the star chart? Three gyro-compass modes? User horizon line, editable right on the phone? Temporary objects? Fast object filtering presets? And a whole lot of application behavior settings, which you can tune up to your liking, making the app really your own tool?

 

DSO Planner app is still in the non stop development, we have a lot of amazing ideas still waiting implementation and the passion to make this tool perfect over time! And we may definitely consider implementing your own ideas as well, especially if they have a social vector!

 

We are still working on a decent English user manual for the app (both of us aren't native English speakers), so don't judge it too hard yet: http://www.dsoplanner.com We don't yet have a dedicated users support web site either. That's why I'm hoping to be able provide some direct and overall guidance and help for the users right in this topic for now, or you can use our team's joint e-mail address: dsoplanner@outlook.com for any questions. The integrated bug tracking facility of the app will help you to report any issues on your particular Android device directly to us with a tap of a button.

The light/demo version of DSO Planner (with the reduced capacity stars databases and some limitations) is in the working, and will be available soon.

 

All the Best,
Alex


Edited by halx, 20 August 2014 - 06:19 PM.


#2 halx

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Posted 27 August 2014 - 05:34 PM

Good news!
Addressing the highly interested, but undecided users' suggestion, we have just released the completely free demo version of DSO Planner, so you can get a hold on it's primary functionality and test its overall look and feel first prior to deciding if it is for you. That's a more fair option compared to just 15 minutes to try offered by Google for the paid version. The demo version is already available on Google Play at:

 

https://play.google.....dsoplannerfree

 

The stars database of this demo is limited to the Yale Bright Stars Catalog (down to 6.5m). The DSO database has only 220 Brightest objects and not expandable in this version. Some of the features are blocked in menus, or may limit the number of data entries you can operate with (see the app's description on Google Play for more details).

We also receiving opinions that the current stars database (USNO UCAC4) is too huge for basic observations with smaller instruments, and also that might be a problem for cheaper Android devices with smaller internal memory available. So, we have decided to make a much smaller footprint version as well. I'll keep you posted on that project's progress.

 

Go ahead, give it a shot now! It's free!


Edited by halx, 27 August 2014 - 06:03 PM.


#3 halx

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 12:25 PM

Thank you, everybody for the rich and grateful feedback on the app's launch!
 

Following your desires and suggestions, we have made several significant additions to the DSO Planner PRO features and the user interface!

 

What's new:

  1. New additional interactive target objects selection from the Star Chart View.

    You can define specific objects filtering rules directly from the Star Chart View using its main menu options. It is possible to turn on and off any of the database layers (NgcIc, UGC, PGC) on the fly, and set the low magnitude limit for each of them, as well as for each of the zoom levels (FOVs) individually. You could also filter NgcIC layer by object types right from the Star Chart View if you want to. 

    You could use the original database filtering mode (DSO Selection View) independently from the new one or combine their results, manipulating the "Object Layers" switch in the settings, which can disable or enable the new object filtering feature functionality as necessary for the task (to disable the original database filtering mode - just wipe the current Observation List, or switch it to an empty one).
     
  2. New stars magnitude limit settings for each zoom level and for each of the objects layer (Yale, Tycho-2, UCAC4, NgcIc, UGC, PGC) as a separate setting. You can manually define finest stars and objects shown on the Chart individually, overriding the default automatic mag.limiter.
     
  3. "Compass Mode" improvements. There are 3 real time modes are available now:

    Compass - tracks device movements and adjust the Star Chart center accordingly (no pitch tracking).

    Compass+Level - adds pitch tracking, so the virtual horizon of the chart is always parallel to the real one.

    Level - Only the pitch is tracked. Useful for advanced use of the Telrad overlay and for the easier eyepiece view matching.
     
  4. The quick Custom User Horizon line definition through a plain text file of Alt/Az pairs (one row per horizon's feature point on the sky) was added. You need to define only the corners, the rest of the horizon's line points on the sky will be interpolated automatically.
     
  5. New removable overlay for the Equatorial coordinates grid with RA/DEC labels was added.
     
  6. New removable labels layer for DSOs and bright stars added.
     
  7. New menu options to hide all of the Star Chart's elements below the horizon line, in both user- and mathematical horizon settings.
     
  8. Improved nebula contours hiding algorithm to show most famous nebulae at any zoom level (FOV).
     
  9. The Object's Information (Details) View was rearranged for clarity and compactness.
     
  10. The Star Chart's Settings view had been rearranged to accommodate new features.

I love these new additions!

The updated DSO Planner Free Demo version is on the way as well.


Edited by halx, 23 September 2014 - 02:25 PM.


#4 halx

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 12:26 PM

Update

The free version of DSO Planner, with all of the improvements above, is available at Google Paly: 
https://play.google....annerfree&hl=en



#5 halx

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 11:34 AM

The new release of the DSO Planner app is here!

We have implemented all of the features you have requested for the past month. Enjoy!

 

This update includes:

  • DSO Selection database list could be sorted by any column (just touch its header).
  • Choosing database in DSO Selection was grouped with the rest of the selection controls right under the Select button.
  • The Basic Search algorithm in DSO Selection list now adjusts the search criteria set to the specific database chosen.
  • The Stop button was added to the DSO Selection search for manual cancellation of too extensive searches.
  • The Move Record option was added to the Observation List (allows manual changing of the objects order on the list).
  • Real Time Mode settings were improved and rearranged.
  • New Real Time Mode option was added, which will suppress automatic screen update for high zoom levels.
  • Selected object's magnitude value added to the Star Chart's object info panel (bottom left corner).

 

And all of that in multiple flavors now!

 

We have decided to provide two lighter versions of the app for less demanding folks with smaller telescopes.

 

DSO Planner Basic

This is the less expensive version for beginner DSO observers. It comes equipped with Yale bright star catalog (9 000 stars down to 6.5 magnitude), 600,000 stars down to 10.7m from Tycho-2 catalog, 3100 brightest objects from NGCIC catalog, observable comets (around 700), and 500 brightest minor planets. Also, the Basic Edition has all of the custom objects database functionality/features stripped off, compared to the Pro version.

 

DSO Planner Plus

This version has no functionality limitations compared to the Pro. But equipped with smaller UCAC4 catalog (15.4 millions of stars compared to 113 millions stars in the Pro Edition) and limited PGC catalog as well (147,000 galaxies compared to 750,000 galaxies in the Pro Edition).


Edited by halx, 27 October 2014 - 12:00 PM.

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#6 grandpastar

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Posted 06 December 2014 - 11:49 AM

I just got the DSO Planner Pro version yesterday.  :waytogo: So far I'm very impressed with it. I like good old fashioned star hopping and this is tailor made for that. With the huge data base you can find anything your scope can see.  :refractor: 


Edited by grandpastar, 06 December 2014 - 11:51 AM.


#7 lvv1227

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Posted 08 December 2014 - 02:12 AM

New features will be coming soon - designations in other catalogs, cross reference between databases, reorganised dso selection, new databases, extended PGC layer and more!


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