Halley’s comet is no longer blinding!!

Well I submitted my first commits today for KStars, the first commits of my life actually. Was having all sorts of problems with Git and at last it finally feels like actually having done something!! 🙂 And yes I am loving astronomy!

Anyways, these commits fix the total magnitude for the observable comets. A new formula is used now by KStars to calculate the total magnitude: T-Mag = M1 + 5 * log10 ( rearth ) + K1 * log10 ( rsun ). This formula is available from the HORIZONS system in the JPL solar system dynamics web site: http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/horizons.cgi . Previously used H, G parameters are removed completely. H, G parameters are actually asteroid specific and not to be used for comets.

However, my next SoK target would be to develop a update notification system for recent supernovae. Have already written the python code to extract information from this CBAT website: http://www.cbat.eps.harvard.edu/lists/RecentSupernovae.html . Yes due credit will be given to them for letting KStars use their data.  As my mentor has suggested, KStars would automatically check for updates (supernovae / comets) data everytime it is run. The user would have an option to switch off this feature. If a new update is found the user would be notified/alerted of it.

Well, and about the Light Curve Generator Tool, it is still to be fixed. Would look into that as well over these next few days. 🙂

🙂 Cheers!


SoK: My tryst with KStars.

It has been 2 weeks since I have started meddling with the code of KStars. It is a desktop planetarium which gives a graphical view of the sky. My work mainly revolves around making it more useful for the scientifically inclined user.

The first step in this direction would be to fix the AAVSO Light Curve Generator Tool as advised by Akarsh Simha(“kstar”) who by the way is my mentor. Recent reorganisations in http://www.aavso.org website has left everything in a mess with this tool.


The mistakes I have identified are that

1. This url: http://www.aavso.org/observing/aids/valaav.txt which is used to retrieve a fresh list of stars is outdated and does not exist.

2. This url: http://www.aavso.org/cgi-bin/kstar.pl do not exist any longer. This causes an internal server error.

A fresh list of stars is needed. I think http://www.aavso.org/vsx/ is a potential solution. But not sure of it. What I am pretty sure of is that http://www.aavso.org/data/lcg/plot is needed to plot the curve right now. Just adding the required parameters would generate a plot. So all that is needed is a fresh list of stars. I have mailed the website admin for the same. Waiting for his reply.

In the meantime I am moving on to my next targets. And that would be to include Astronomy Updates into KStars. I have come across some websites that might help in this regard. Need to discuss with my mentor over this. And that’ll be after 3rd. Till then I will be waiting for a mail from aavso.org and working on new features.

Cheers 🙂