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iPhone astronomy toolkit project

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Posted (edited)

During these long cloudy nights which seem to be the norm lately I'm using my evenings constructively, as one does. 

Among the tinkerings is iOS shortcuts. This started out as an app called Workflow but was recently purchased by Apple and integrated into the OS. 

What the app does is automation (Similar to the Android app Tasker, but nowhere near as advanced yet), the integration with iOS is pretty good so far though, plenty more for Apple to do in future releases I feel but very useful. It can set variables, run IF statements, While loops etc but before it can play nice with your apps, the developer has to plug into it and Sky Safari hasn't as yet.

So last night I started thinking about how else I could make use of it for astronomy and here's part of what we've got so far.

It fetches Moon info or weather info from www.timeanddate.com, parses the page to pull the info we need into a list then formats and displays the list items in a panel, all in the home screen 'widget'.

I'm liking this a lot, and as it can also do Javascript, and Python (via a 3rd party app), plug in to your device's location, present menus, ask for input and more I'm planning lots more features. Asteroid/comet data from MPC, rise/set/transit time for a user input target (via Heavens Above for example) are a few examples. I might need to dust off my copy of Jean Meeus' Astronomical Algorithms and get it calculating stuff too (which means I can then get data from services like Simbad which have a structured query language and calculate my own location based data, rather than 'scraping' sites like timeanddate which could change layout without notice)

It's a bit of fun, just to see how far I can push it, but any ideas/thoughts/suggestions will be well received, so chip in and have your say.

Quick vid of it in action (only 7mb, maximise for best viewing experience)


Edited by johnfosteruk
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That screenshot is gigantic! how so? is it like a 50 megapixel screenshot?

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I don’t know how, it’s straight out of the phone. PP required next time!

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