Star-Hopper for KStars

Part of my project for Season of KDE was to make a UI for the existing Star-Hopper feature in KStars. I recently got to finishing it and decided to document it.

The Star-Hopper is an amazing feature present in KStars which allows you to find a path between two points in the sky. It is very commonly used in astronomy. If you have a bright star as a reference and you want to find an object in its vicinity, you start from your reference star and trace a route to the destination traversing a sequence of stars/pattern of stars.

The existing Starhopper backend present in KStars was showing the results on the terminal. So I worked on developing a frontend to display the results.

Here are steps on how to use the Star-Hopper feature in KStars :

1. Right click on your reference object on the Skymap to get a drop down menu. This object is your start point.

KS-DropDownMenu

2. In the drop down menu, select “Starhop from here to” option.

KS-SH-Option

3. A dotted line will appear. Move the mouse to your destination object and right click on it.

KS-Starhop-till

4. A dialog box requesting for FOV appears. If you have already selected FOV symbols. you will get a drop down menu to select within those FOV symbols. Otherwise you will be asked to enter the FOV in arcminutes.

KS-FOV-DialogBox

5. Upon entering the FOV and clicking okay, you will either be presented with a dialog box containing list of objects in the Starhop route or an error dialog box if the Starhop route couldn’t be computed (mostly because of small FOV)

KS-SH-UI

The dialog box has options to produce details of the object, center the object in the map and go to the next object and center it in the map. It also gives directions to the current selected object below the list of objects.

Hope this blog post helps in using the Star-Hopper features. Any questions, feel free to drop into #kde-kstars

Cheers! 🙂

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