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Game idea - identify constellations on a partly "cloudy night"

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#1 orionic

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 03:26 AM

It's tough to identify the constellations when there is partial cloud cover -- so I'd like to practice this skill with a game.  Does such a game exist?  Here is how I envision it:

 

-You are shown a large portion of the sky (maybe 1/3  to 1/6 of the sky that would be visible at some unknown time)

-You draw a lasso around any group of stars - a selection list (alphabetical) of all the constellations appears (or a limited list according to settings, e.g. all constellations visible from X degrees north latitude) - if you choose correctly, the lassoed stars turn green.

-You continue in that way, selecting more star groups and identifying the constellation, until some required percent of the screen has been correctly identified.

-Different levels of difficulty are provided by varying the percent cloud cover.  There would be a "beginners" stage without any clouds.  On the hardest levels, the only way to figure things out is if you can recognize a constellation from a small portion visible.  I would love to have that skill!

 

There could be options to choose whether to provide additional clues, such as:

-Clouds are either black (indistinguishable from empty sky) or gray (so you can tell where the "hidden stars" must be located

-Viewing direction randomized, vs. direction known with N/S/E/W indicated

-Unknown time/season vs. known

-Planets can be included to confuse, or possibly help you (since they help you see where the ecliptic is)

 

I imagine it would be sort of analogous to "name that tune" -- those who really know their pop tunes can identify a song from just a few notes; this game would show the same kind of skill for those who really know their constellations well.

 

Is there anything like this in existence?  I guess maybe it could be called "Cloudy Nights"!  (Or maybe not!)


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#2 DLuders

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 03:39 AM

Maybe there could be a Plug-In developed on the free planetarium software program http://www.stellarium.org ....



#3 Steve Cox

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 06:59 PM

That's actually not a bad idea.  It reminds me of my early days in the military during the height of the Cold War, where you could get free playing cards that were really flash cards of black silhouettes of enemy planes, armor and ships and you learned what they were while literally playing cards.


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#4 lphilpot

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 09:11 PM

I was apparently frustrated years ago (with too much free time on my hands) after a particularly, and atypically, cloudy Texas Star Party. After spending waaaay too much time trying to identify partial constellations, I came up with this:)


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#5 Ira

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 01:05 AM

I am now a professional astronomer doing star tours and astronomy outreach and education almost every night from the desert skies of Israel. In the winter we frequently have partial cloud cover at night, so I "play" this game for real weekly here in the Negev!

 

/Ira



#6 Ira

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 01:08 AM

I was apparently frustrated years ago (with too much free time on my hands) after a particularly, and atypically, cloudy Texas Star Party. After spending waaaay too much time trying to identify partial constellations, I came up with thissmile.gif

Yeah. That's what it looks like.



#7 Ira

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 01:11 AM

That's actually not a bad idea.  It reminds me of my early days in the military during the height of the Cold War, where you could get free playing cards that were really flash cards of black silhouettes of enemy planes, armor and ships and you learned what they were while literally playing cards.

After 9/11 there was a set of playing cards with the photos of wanted terrorists on the back to help military personnel learn to identify them. I bought a set on eBay. I think it was put out by the US military, but it may have just been a novelty.

 

/Ira



#8 Roger Corbett

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 10:18 AM

Orin, great idea!



#9 t_image

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 04:32 PM

So a few years back I was developing a simple "quiz" app for constellations, and the different names for stars.

Helpful enough for the star-align routines of mounts...

I have 88 Adobe Illustrator files with tags that I'll someday import to Adobe Flash and create an android app with,

as I'll have any easy go with the code as I already have a street-quizzing map app built.

I know flash has gone the wayside, but it is so easy to even write a simple program as explained above with....

 

The one dilemma one must be prepared for is the variables that change in magnitude.....

 

And of course the complexity in building such software is the data tables and info to work with, hence my development by hand.

For security reasons I didn't use a database set in the app....

 

The biggest joy of this thread is some people still want to learn the sky and aren't depending on goto or platesolving software!!!!!!



#10 orionic

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 02:29 PM

So a few years back I was developing a simple "quiz" app for constellations, and the different names for stars.

Helpful enough for the star-align routines of mounts...

I have 88 Adobe Illustrator files with tags that I'll someday import to Adobe Flash and create an android app with,

as I'll have any easy go with the code as I already have a street-quizzing map app built.

I know flash has gone the wayside, but it is so easy to even write a simple program as explained above with....

 

The one dilemma one must be prepared for is the variables that change in magnitude.....

 

And of course the complexity in building such software is the data tables and info to work with, hence my development by hand.

For security reasons I didn't use a database set in the app....

 

The biggest joy of this thread is some people still want to learn the sky and aren't depending on goto or platesolving software!!!!!!

Awesome!  I hope to someday see it on Google Play.

 

I share your sentiments...in fact I was once employed as a Flash games programmer... I guess there is a part of me that wants to turn everything into a Flash game.




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