Thursday, May 26, 2022

KStars v3.5.9 Released

KStars v3.5.9 is released on 2022.05.26 for MacOS, Linux, and Windows. It's a bi-monthly bugfix release with a couple of exciting features.

DSS Offline HiPS

HiPS (Hierarchical Progressive Surveys) is a technology that provides progressive high resolution images of the sky at different zoom levels. KStars fully supports online HiPS where data is downloaded from online servers and cached to display on the Sky Map.

One of the most popular catalogs in KStars is the DSS Colored progressive survey. With v3.5.9, you can now specify directory where the offline DSS catalog is located. You can download the data from various HiPS services online. For best experience, it's recommended to download 3rd, 4th, and 5th (Norder3, Norder4, and Norder5) order directories which would take around 1GB of storage space. You may download further orders (i.e. higher zoom levels) at the expense of more storage space.

The following shows a sample of downloaded order directories, at minimum you need Norder3 folder for this functionality to work.

Revamped Mosaic Planner

New simplified and powerful Mosaic Planner directly integrated in the Sky Map. It greatly benefits from HiPS overlay to make your target framing spot on. Toggle the Mosaic View from the tool bar, and select your equipment and the mosaic configuration. You can also use it as a very simple tool to frame a single 1x1 tile.

Adjust the tile center either by manually specifying the J2000 center or by dragging the tiles across the sky map. Once done, you can command the mount to go to the target and solve. Alternatively, you can proceed to create jobs for the Ekos Scheduler. After the jobs are added, you may start the scheduler at any time to plan the mosaic session accordingly.

Refocus After Meridian Flip

Dušan Poizl
 added the ability to refocus after a meridian flip is complete. This is very useful for some optical train setups where the focuser might shift duration the flip.

New Index Files

Robert Lancaster added the new 5200 astrometry index files. The difference is just which star surveys were used to build which indexes. The 4200 Series was made from 2MASS and covers all the image scales. The 4100 series was made from Tycho2 but only covers wide image scales. The 5200 series was just recently added, was made by blending Tycho2 and Gaia, and complements the 4100 series to give it the smaller scales.

Internal Plumbing: Introducing Device Adapter

Wolfgang Reissenberger continues his outstanding work refactoring Ekos state machine by introducing the device adapter. Next step extracting state handling from Capture into a dedicated state machine. In this step devices are managed by a dedicated device adapter (successor of the command processor). With this refactoring it is no longer necessary to route device events from Capture through SequenceJob to the state machine, the device adapter sends the events directly to the state machine.

Capture Progress face lift

Wolfgang Reissenberger streamlined the capture progress section of Capture:

  • Remaining time for frame and sequence displayed as hh:mm:ss
  • Display of average download time (in calculation, all download times are taken into account and not only those > 1)
  • New status widget with a color LED displaying the capture status (and no longer using the seconds text for this)
  • Using the same widget on the Master tab 

Greedy Scheduler Speeds up

Fans of Greedy Scheduler rejoice! Hy Murveit made significant speedups to the Greedy Scheduler, especially for very large scheduler. 

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