SkyServer 0.0.5 review

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SkyServer streams live astronomical data to file at user-specified intervals. SkyServer is a computationally rigorous backend for

License: GPL (GNU General Public License)
File size: 0K
Developer: Pete Chayleigh, Coeli Software
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SkyServer streams live astronomical data to file at user-specified intervals.

SkyServer is a computationally rigorous backend for planetaria, sky charts, ephemerides, astrological, or any application that may need to use realtime celestial data, making such data continuously available for processing either textually or graphically by your display script.

SkyServer's astronomy libraries, written in Delphi-mode extended Pascal, have a ten-year pedigree. They are proven, stable, fast, and arc-second accurate, serving as the computation engine behind such well-regarded software products as Coeli Stella 2000, Adastra, DeskNite, and several other shareware titles for MS Windows.

SkyServer's initial data set comprises a 15,695-star selection from the Yale and Hipparcos catalogs; Critical, NEO, bright, and transneptunian asteroids; DSOs, comets, sun, moon & planets, plus linesets for drawing, including constellation lines, boundaries, grids, aequator, ecliptic, horizon, galactic equator, polar points, and Milky Way.

Further data extensions may be obtained direct from Coeli. Extensions feature the complete SAO and Hipparcos star catalogs, regularly updated orbital elements for comets and asteroids, and nearly 300 extra star names and associated notes, all suitable for loading straight into SkyServer.

SkyServer dishes your data out in digestible form. Readable by both human and software, there are two principal file formats: "record jar" and rdb tables.

The latter may be manipulated at the command line without modification using a relational database tool such as NoSql. The record jar file is designed to be read in by a display script or simply perused by the user. See below for an example record from ''.

While the underlying Coeli engine has been tried and tested to production standard and been in constant development for over a decade, the SkyServer POSIX daemon itself is a first beta release. It needs testers and contributors, and I hope you will join the project.

Our aim is to offer a free, comprehensive, complete, yet extensible backend for astronomy scripting, thus rendering the hitherto daunting task of creating personalized astronomical applications for web or desktop a trivial matter. Whatever your style or preference - whether this be C, Java, Python, Ruby, Perl, PHP, or shell - SkyServer will provide the celestial data in realtime, right down to the screen coordinates of each and every object in its database, pixel-ready.

Your own display script will not need to do a single calculation.

What's New in This Release:
A command line parser was implemented for SkyServer, incorporating a brief help page, version, options, and licensing information.
Documentation was expanded to include instructions on runtime control via IPC signals.
Planet, comet, and asteroid displays were added to the SkyShow GTK+ frontend, and the title-bar's N/S E/W "facing" bug was fixed.

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