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Building an Open Sourced, Social Planetarium

Oz Ramos




Because I currently can't afford school (and am on academic probation anyways), I'm building an open-sourced, social planetarium to help me learn as much as possible. It's called SKY @ Lab of Oz (where I'm building other mini-apps, for math, physics, and the sciences in general).

The project will, when completed, have:

  • 2D, printable skycharts
  • 3D planetarium (like Stellarium)
  • Lunar calendar
  • Weather forecast
  • "To-View" lists
  • Calendars
  • Personal Catalogues
  • Friends/Groups
  • Social Astrophotography
    • Stack images
    • Flipping (for object finding/tracking)
    • Image generators (upload image and add date, scope, details etc to it for download)
    • Add your image to the 3D planetarium, which people can see when they zoom in to an object/section of the sky

    [*]Stitching module (stitch together multiple images)

Because the highest level of math I've completed in school was Algebra, I'm using a book called "Astronomy for the Personal Computer" to help guide me in the right direction. And while the text gives examples in C++, I'm porting what I learn into Javascript. You can keep up to date by following/forking my Ephemerides Library on GitHub (not much there yet :p )

The first demo I posted, today, is a simple conversion tool that will allow me to convert between decimal and degree angles. You can play around with it in SKY Lab.

Anyways, the blog posts I'll be posting here on SGL will be far less code-oriented and more focused on the astronomy.

Thanks for reading! This was the "introductory/about" post, so the next one will be more interesting :p



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Good luck with the project - it sounds interesting!

If you are porting it to javascript, does that mean the whole thing will run in a web browser?

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Thanks Grant! Yes, the browser is in fact the main reason I chose javascript as it means it will work both on your desktop and mobile device - indoors or out - without requiring any downloads.

While I won't be able to achieve the beautiful visuals of other desktop based planetariums (Stellarium etc), the fact that it's online by default means that it is instantly accessible to 100% of people online vs only people with enough interest/privileges to download and install the software.

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Interesting .. PI runs JS for the glue, however the portions that do each stage are C/C++ etc.

The main things are that people are looking for in AP:

* Explore

* Plane

* Capture (Execute)

* Process

* Publish

Now there's more people also interested in the non-beauty element which involves odd image processing so make it that one stage can feed into the next with a user's own processor between them.

Good luck, that's a considerable amount of work - it may be better to look at seeing if PI libraries could be used for open source..

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What I've wanted to do for some time in SGL is hotlink/popup on object names e.g. M42 to bring up a planetarium type view of where that object is, based on the users local time and using geo tools on their IP - somewhere close to their location as well... If you achieve what you want to with this project, something like that should be reasonably trivial to achieve! :)

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I'll be honest Nick, I'm not really sure what PI or AP stand for (AstroPhotography?). Can you tell I'm new to all this :p I'd definitely like to take a look at PI, although working out of the textbook helps me understand the what and whys...which is important considering how little know.


Grant, that is an awesome idea! I was already planning on building a public API to allow people to create starcharts by appending their coordinates/object in the URL like:


And by altering obj you get a new image. But using the IP is an even better idea

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