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AstroInfo 3.1 RC1(ARP) for PalmOS

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#1 arpruss

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 09:25 PM

AstroInfo is a free astronomy app for PalmOS PDAs/phones generating zoomable and panable star charts for the current time or for other times, including planet ephemerides and DSO catalogs (Messier, NGC, IC, Caldwell, sci.astro.amateur, etc.). It's a nice thing to have in one's pocket when observing, and it's nice for planning observations (e.g., checking rise and set times of objects). It probably doesn't do as much as the best commercial offerings, but it's free and open source (GPL).

This is an unofficial RC1 by one of the members of the AstroInfo team (ARP). I think the English language version is stable and basically ready for release.

New features in 3.1, over and beyond 3.0 (some of these you might think have been long overdue):
- Support for 320x480 and 480x320 displays (e.g., Palm TX)
- Better nightmode on some devices (turn off the white screen border)
- Configurable color for different object catalogs (e.g., planets in blue, Messier in red, etc.)
- Much larger star catalog than before, including all the stars up to mag 10 in Tycho-2 and Hipparcos (you don't need to install any of the *Star* files, just the Tycho files)
- Optional constellation lines
- Various configuration options
- Measure mode for measuring angular distance
- Support for a total of more than 65535 objects
- Web lookup for DSO information (on newer devices like the TX, Treo and Centro that are web-enabled)
- Much faster rendering code on most ARM-based devices


And, of course, various bug fixes.

Binaries for installation on PDA: http://mihd.net/hsa1til
GPL source code: http://mihd.net/durl8qk
(To use the download links, you'll have to click on the "Request ticket" heading on the pages the links lead to.)

Screenshot (on Palm TX): Posted Image

I think it requires OS 3.0 or maybe 3.5, and up, with it running best on OS 5.0 and up.

AstroInfo doesn't include minor planet ephemerides, but you can download up-to-the-minute ephemerides for the first 100 numbered minor planets in an AstroInfo catalog from:
http://pruss.homeip....inorplanets.pdb
The pdb file is generated on the fly from web-based ephemerides, so you'll want to download it just before observing.

#2 jwaldo

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 11:48 PM

Hello,

Can this application be downloaded on a Zire 31? I tried, and all I got was gibberish in the menu. Did I do something wrong, or is my PDA just inadequate for it? :help:

#3 arpruss

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 12:37 AM

Which of the Astro-*.prc files did you install? It should work on the Zire.

#4 jwaldo

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 12:38 PM

Doh! I think I added them all, which would explain the alphabet soup I got :foreheadslap: It would also explain why I couldn't find a language selector in the menus :p

EDIT: Removed the extra language files, and now it seems to be working fine :jump:

#5 arpruss

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 01:04 PM

I expect what you got was a version needing a non-Latin alphabet.

Let me know what bugs you find.

#6 arpruss

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Posted 26 July 2008 - 04:36 PM

I just uploaded RC2(ARP).

Added two features to make deep sky observing planning easier:
- Option to omit stars from catalog list and from object tap search. This makes it easier to select DSOs near stars.
- Option to show all non-star objects, regardless of magnitude, and to show them brightly. This means you can look at a region you want to observe, and see the DSOs nicely lit up (I have Messier in red, Caldwell in cyan, etc.)

Binaries: http://ifile.it/3idstuz
Source: http://ifile.it/s95e46j

#7 arpruss

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 08:30 AM

Sorry for all the posts. RC3 fixes a crash bug, and a typo:

binaries: http://ifile.it/n9z7wlv
source: http://ifile.it/j46dyo1

#8 arpruss

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 02:36 PM

I extended the Tycho-2 charts to mag 11.

Binaries: http://ifile.it/cbxgfal
Source: http://ifile.it/gx1ar7v

#9 arpruss

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Posted 09 August 2008 - 10:14 PM

I fixed a bug where only the first 32 catalogs would be remembered as visible.

By the way, should I be posting these updates? Is anybody beside me actually using AstroInfo? I haven't got any bug reports.

I find AstroInfo a quite useful observing tool. Maybe not quite as good as some of the commercial offerings, but it is free, stable and pretty fast on modern PalmOS devices.

Binaries: http://ifile.it/2jleg85
Source: http://ifile.it/7we2mfc

#10 TomJoe

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 09:15 PM

arpruss, I'm downloading it to my Palm tomorrow, I think it's going to be quite handy. If you want my thoughts on it after I've tested it out I'll be more than happy to do so.

#11 TomJoe

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 10:13 AM

So far so good. The visuals are slick and if the sky cooperates, I'll give it a whirl tonight to help me scan the night sky.

#12 chexmix

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 02:33 PM

By the way, should I be posting these updates? Is anybody beside me actually using AstroInfo? I haven't got any bug reports.

I find AstroInfo a quite useful observing tool. Maybe not quite as good as some of the commercial offerings, but it is free, stable and pretty fast on modern PalmOS devices.


I want to give it a shot. I will let you know when I do ... :)

#13 arpruss

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Posted 24 August 2008 - 09:20 AM

I added customizable Telrad-style circles (whether for Telrad use, or for seeing what one can see in an eyepiece).

Binaries: http://ifile.it/dtsb51j
Source: http://ifile.it/758iyn0

#14 arpruss

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 11:00 PM

I added higher precision calculations for selecting between objects really close to each other, and I also added a helpful install.txt .

Binaries: http://tinyurl.com/ai3107bin
Source: http://tinyurl.com/ai3107src

#15 arpruss

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 12:47 PM

Now AI shows a little line on the edge of the screen pointing to the selected object when the object is off-screen. This should help with star-hopping to an object.

I also tweaked some Tycho-2 mag 10-11 range databases (delete all the old Tycho-2 databases in the 10-11 mag range before installing these, or you'll have duplicate stars). The databases are now alpha sorted in the catalog list.

Finally, I improved stack memory usage, and increased the max number of databases to 128 (this last increase will mean you'll have to set the database colors once again).

Binaries: http://palmgear.com/?xyz=137417
Source: http://palmgear.com/?xyz=137415

#16 arpruss

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 04:41 PM

Oops. The version I had uploaded didn't save catalog prefs. I just uploaded a version that does.

Binaries: http://palmgear.com/?xyz=137417
Source: http://palmgear.com/?xyz=137415

#17 arpruss

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 08:52 AM

I'm downgrading it to a beta right now, not because I think it's unstable, but because I've done a major change to the catalog format. As a result, the Tycho-2 mag 11 catalog is reduced in size by about 40% (to 14mb).

Binaries: http://palmgear.com/?xyz=137417
Source: http://palmgear.com/?xyz=137415

#18 arpruss

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 02:49 PM

I added two-star (actually, two-object: planets, DSOs, the moon, etc. are all valid reference objects) alignment for alt/az and RA/dec scopes. Together with setting circles, this makes for a poor man's goto.

Binaries: http://palmgear.com/?xyz=137417
Source: http://palmgear.com/?xyz=137415

#19 lambermo

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Posted 03 November 2008 - 07:51 AM

Question : any plans to allow for the databases to be on a memory card instead of in RAM ? (Acc. to the install.txt the databases must go in RAM, while the AstroInfo main program file can be either on a memory card or in RAM.)

#20 arpruss

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Posted 03 November 2008 - 10:07 AM

That would be nice, at least for the catalog dbs. I am worried about performance isses, though. Caching would probably need to be implemented.

#21 arpruss

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 09:40 AM

I posted 3.10b12 (=3.10l) at:
http://palmgear.com/?xyz=137417

Features:
- hi-res lunar phase calendar (still has some display glitches, but looks better on hi-res OS5 devices)

Fixes:
- date select bug (wrong day would be selected if local date wasn't equal to GMT date)
- startup crash bug (AstroInfo would crash on startup, at least on some devices, if the default system display depth was not the highest display depth)

#22 chexmix

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 09:19 PM

I'm finally getting a chance to d/l this. :) I will let you know what I find. Thanks!

#23 arpruss

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 09:46 PM

Thanks. I have a new version which I'm not releasing yet, which supports n-object setting-circle alignment (the previous version only supported 1-object and 2-object alignment). But I've only tested this very briefly once in the field (and it worked great--I aligned on Jupiter, one of the stars in Cass and the center of M31; it then pointed me right to M33 and one of the components of the Double Cluster), so it's not ready for release until I do a bit more testing. But it's hard to test the alignment code in my backyard, because alignment works best with widely spaced objects, and I only get relatively small patches of sky between trees.

By the way, the alignment code is completely untested with eq mounts, since I don't have one. In theory, it should let one find objects by setting circle numbers without any polar alignment. The alt/az version is what I've been testing.

#24 arpruss

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 11:12 AM

I posted the new version (3.10m) with the n-star alignment code, after trying it out last night. (If you don't use alignment, 3.10l will be no different.)

#25 rboe

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 09:28 AM

I'm lurking on this one. Too many irons in fire to try it out yet but I'm hoping to do so this spring. Honey-Do's you know. :ohmy:

If I get a free moment I'll give it whirl. Just wanted to let you know others are watching this. :)


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