Saturday, July 8, 2017

KStars 2.7.9 Released for Linux, Mac, Windows, and Android!

A new release of KStars is out! v2.7.9 is now available for Linux, Mac, and Windows. At the same time, we released an update to KStars Lite for Android.

This is mostly a bugfix release where we concentrated on fixing bugs as reported by our users. But that didn't stop us from creating new tools that were long requested by the community, including the Mount Control tool that facilitates motion and GOTO commands with a simple interface.

On the other hand, KStars GSoC 2017 project started with lots under the hood work taking place. Csaba went full throttle with migrating the C++ code to modern C++14 standards while updating the build process to be stricter, more secure, and efficient. The whole code base was formatted and countless warnings resolved. Furthermore, several enhancements were made to decrease memory usage and increase performance of tools such as Observation Planner.

For KStars Lite on Android, it now supports Automatic Mode where you can identify stars, planets, and constellations simply by pointing the phone toward the sky and looking at the live Sky Map within the App. Significant performance gains were made in FITS files that support WCS data. Since processing WCS is very CPU intensive, loading WCS data is now performed on demand. This is especially important for embedded devices where resources are limited.

Robert Lancaster implemented automatic download of Astrometry.net index files directly from the GUI. No longer the user have to go and hunt for index files, calculate FOVs for different equipment...etc. With the updated system, all the required index files are highlighted automatically by Ekos, and all you have to do is to click and download them!

Special thanks to all those who made this release possible. Outstanding work from KDE's Craft team, led by Hannah Von Reth, for making this great tool that enables KStars to reach users across all major platforms.

New Field Rotator Conrol