GSoC Update: What’s Interesting… in KStars?

This is really very late. I had been very busy trying to get my visa for Akademy which I ultimately failed in. Anyway, Akademy is over now and things are looking fine with my GSoC endeavour. I am mostly done with beginner-level implementation for the What’s Interesting… feature. My feature now suggests Planets, Bright Stars and Constellations to the user.

Here are some screenshots:

Primary category selection view

Planetary Objects – sub-category selection

Interesting bright stars

Details view for planet Venus

The user can click on a sky-object from the list suggested and the skymap slews to centre the sky-object on the map. The details for the sky-object is shown along with its approximate position in the sky-map. The user can view the next “interesting” object from this details-view as well. Deep-sky objects are available but are unfiltered(all are not interesting to look at).

So I have used a QML interface for this feature. Getting to learn the model-view stuff and actually implementing it was exciting. I miss the thrill now a bit. 😉 Anyway, back to brief technicality, the models for the QML ListViews are defined in C++ classes by using QStringList based models for the category selection views and by sub-classing  QAbstractListModel (class SkyObjListModel ) for the list of interesting sky-objects belonging to a particular category. Sky objects are stored as SkyObjItems. The SkyObjItem class subclasses QObject and its instances are used as items in the SkyObjListModel. I later plan to write another blog on how I used the C++ list model in QML and how the different signals from the QML interface were implemented in C++ slots.

What next? Next I will move on to dark-sky objects. I will implement the light-pollution and equipment parameters and try to get an interesting list. I have designed the wizard that would ask the user for location conditions and equipment parameters. I will be using this formula from this paper by JOSÉ RAMÓN TORRES LAPASIÓ to calculate the limiting magnitude for sky-objects. Here is the useful part:

Formula for True Limiting Magnitude

Bortle Dark-Sky Scale will be used to calculate the LM and subsequently the SB_0T. This will be used to calculate the TLM. all this for the next few days. I need to push hard though and make up for time I had to sacrifice during the visa application process. Hopefully I can get the the DSO stuff working in a week. And yeah I’ll buy a pair of astronomical binoculars to actually test my feature. Or maybe a telescope? Will see. Till then, cheers! 🙂

P.S. : Also you can “checkout” my work from my KStars repository branch – gsoc2012-samxan. 🙂