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Are you ready for this?
Richard S. Wright Jr.'s Blog

The Arizona show (ASAE) is coming, and boy do we have some goodies in store!  I, by the way, (warning shameless plug here!) will be giving two featured talks at SWAP, one on equipment selection, and one on DSLR imaging, both aimed at the beginning imager. Not "Bisque commercials" mind you, but all about the art and science of imaging itself.  Wednesday, they are having several "Comrade in Arms" sessions, which are essentially roundtable discussions between fellow imagers. I'm presiding over two of those intended for TheSkyX and Paramount users. I'm looking forward to that as well!

Most of my efforts lately have been on the next version of TheSky HD for iOS. There's a good deal of new imaging related plumbing in place now, and the first few new features are far enough along to turn loose. First is an integrated FITS viewer. Drag your FITS files into the file sharing section of iTunes and they will show up as User Data much like you can already copy over .SDB files from TheSkyX. The FITS viewer features linear white and black point adjustments, zoom and pan with multi-touch gestures, and it works on any sized FITS file, even those too large to fit in the device's RAM.

The FITS viewer is available by selecting a FITS file from the list of user added files, but also from a brand new Tools menu, located at the bottom right toolbar. The new Tools menu has a few other additions besides the FITS viewer. There are new screens for weather and IP camera monitoring. You can configure your own URL's for either, and quickly spot check the weather, or perhaps an all sky camera at your observatory right from within the app. There's also a new Planner feature, that I'm very excited about. In the first release, you're getting just the first cut of what all I envision for this feature. A graph shows the elevation of the sun and moon for a particular date, and you can add your own objects as well. All the find and identify popovers have a new button +Plan, which adds the object to your planner list. Select the object in the planner, and a graph shows the objects altitude throughout the night. You can also move back and forth through time either by day or month (hourly sliders will be in the next release). Your planning list is also persistent, when you restart, it remembers the objects of interest. You can clear them all, or delete individual items with a quick left swipe.

I've saved the best for last, and literally the tip of the iceberg for what is to come. You can now connect to a copy of TheSkyX Pro from the iPad application. TheSkyX Pro can be on a desktop in a remote observatory, connected to a laptop in your backyard or dark sky site.... and sometime next year, to our Linux based "SkyBox" hosted copy. You can control the telescope from the iPad naturally, and for this next release you can take images by remote control. Select the filter, exposure time, and binning, and start an exposure. The resulting fits file is downloaded in the background and available for viewing via the FITS viewer. This isn't observatory automation (yet <g>), but rather a powerful outreach or planning tool. Imagine a crowd of school children while you slew around taking images of celestial objects with your iPad... 

I've said in the past that the iPad version was going to become more and more focused on the needs of the imager. How to "practically" image from a tablet device has been something we have been thinking about for quite a while, and these are just the first fruits of that. There's going to be a lot of growth in capabilities over the next year, so stay tuned!

Richard

 


Posted 10-03-2014 1:11 PM by Richard Wright

Comments

trimil wrote re: Are you ready for this?
on 10-14-2014 9:02 AM

Richard,

Great news on the FITS viewer with image stretch, it's been needed on iOS for a long time. How official is the term "SkyBox"? Should I start saving my nickels and dimes for one now?

Richard Wright wrote re: Are you ready for this?
on 10-14-2014 9:29 AM

"SkyBox" is the term I coined... I'm not sure if the product will be called that, but it'll probably always be my nickname for it ;-)

It's not "official", but it's going to happen... eventually ;-)

Peter wrote re: Are you ready for this?
on 10-24-2014 3:19 AM

Hi Richard,

Here is a question I intended to ambush you with at SWAP. But, as I'm flying frm down under on Wednesday it's doubtful I'll be awake for the round table discussions. Will there ever be a CAO ability to control 2 cameras simultaneously and dither? On my MEII I have a TEC180 and TEC140 side x side and I can do luminance and color simultaneously. But I can't figure out how to dither. It's probably impossible but I know you "love" a challenge.

See you soon.

Richard Wright wrote re: Are you ready for this?
on 10-24-2014 7:09 PM

Peter.... Let me check with Matt. Might be a GUI nightmare.

Richard

Daniel R. Bisque wrote re: Are you ready for this?
on 10-30-2014 9:17 AM

@Peter: The URL to your question on TheSkyX Pro support forum, with Matt's response, is here:

www.bisque.com/.../104875.aspx

cchagadorn wrote re: Are you ready for this?
on 11-12-2014 6:12 PM

Any chance you can post the slides from your presentations, if you think they have value on their own?

Richard Wright wrote re: Are you ready for this?
on 12-21-2014 9:39 PM

I have them posted here for the SWAP folks. I don't think they have much value just as slides, as I don't subscribe to the "reading the slides" presentation style ;-)  Never-the-less, there are some things that might be helpful:

www.starstonesoftware.com/.../DSLR.pdf

www.starstonesoftware.com/.../GettingStarted.pdf

These are on my server, I will leave them there for a few more weeks.

Richard

   

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