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Just For Fun
  [ # 256 ]

Sure, CR. I’ll remove the image, no problem. smile

If I might suggest, though, that using a larger image (1024x768 or bigger) generally gives better results. smile


  [ # 257 ]

I figured it was something like that. That image was all I had on-hand at the time. I’ll try again tonight.


  [ # 258 ]

As some of you may (or may not) know, I’ve recently revamped Morti’s page a little, and given him a telescope, to share with visitors. What most of you don’t know is that I’ve decided to “expand” on the idea, and create a full-blown “Virtual Telescope”, as well. This incarnation of the project performs searches for astronomical objects of all sorts (though, admittedly, you get the best results for extra-solar objects, for reasons to be outlined in a moment), accessing the SIMBAD astronomical database, NASA’s APOD image database, and Wikipedia, all to put together a wonderful, interactive experience. For those who can’t (or won’t) shell out the cash to buy their own telescope, or can’t (or won’t) face hours of cold weather, cloudy skies, or other outdoor inconveniences, this is a handy surrogate, though it could never fully take the place of directly viewing the Orion Nebula, first hand. smile

The page is still a “work in progress”, but it’s functional. It does require the Google Earth plugin, and it’s not been tested (that I know of) on Linux boxes, but it functions in Firefox, IE, Chrome and Opera.

Now I mentioned earlier that it’s best to use the telescope to “view” extra-solar objects, and the reasons ate two fold:

1.) The Google Earth plugin doesn’t image objects within our solar system, mainly because those objects aren’t “static”, and in fact, move through the sky too much for the plugin to be able to accurately display their current location, but also because not only do the planets, comets and asteroids “move” too much, they also change appearance too much, as well.

2.) The SIMBAD astronomical DB doesn’t store the position/ephemeris data for solar system objects, so the telescope script can’t find out where to “point”, even if Google Earth did support solar system objects.

However, that said, there’s a “fallback” option, in that if a SIMBAD search can’t come up with positional data for the object searched, the script turns to the APOD image database, and tries to return an image that’s relevant to the object in question. The nice thing about this is that you can do image searches for non-object items, such as lunar/solar eclipses, or Apollo 17, or images of comets from SOHO.

One of the several features I’m working on for the telescope is a pair of “recent search” lists; one for celestial objects, and the other for images. As more people view more and more objects and/or images, these lists will grow. Already, I’ve included some of my all time favorite deep sky objects, along with some of the most interesting (to me, at least) nebulae in space. It’s hoped that people will find this useful. smile One thing, though. If you’re looking for messier objects, it’s best to use the syntax “Messier 10”, rather than the more common “M10”. This is because wikipedia doesn’t list Messier objects by their “short” classifications, but as their full Messier Catalog names. Just a bit of a heads up, to prevent seeing some rather confusing placemark descriptions.

Placemarks? you may ask. Yes, indeed. A placemark is a “thing” that’s a part of Google Earth that sits at a specified location, and often contains useful information about the object in that location. The telescope script takes the positional data from the SIMBAD search, and combines it with data retrieved from wikipedia, to create one of these placemarks, to help make the viewing experience more informative, and entertaining. These placemarks use a custom icon (shaped like a telescope), to help distinguish them from any other placemarks in the area, and provides some often interesting information about the object that you’re looking at. I’m still working on the visual aspects of these placemarks, but I hope to soon be able to get them to look the way I want them to.

Ok, i’ve babbled on enough about the telescope. Head on over and check it out. I’d love to hear what you think about it, and if you have any suggestions, I’ll certainly consider them very carefully. smile


  [ # 259 ]

May I be the first one to congratulate you on the telescope Dave.

You have obviously put a lot of work into it and to give credit where its due, It is excellent work. We could probably do with something like this over on DH, as you know we have a popular astronomy section over there and Legion is also quite clued up on astronomy, especially our solar system, which she has quite a lot of in-depth knowledge about, so maybe a link somewhere to your telescope could be beneficial to both of us.

Nicely done smile


  [ # 260 ]

Thanks, Data. It was a lot of fun to put together. I’m thinking about putting the “lite” version together as a package, and making it publicly available for download. The full version, though, is going to be a Geek Cave Creations “exclusive” cheese


  [ # 261 ]

Happy Anniversary to me!

“Joined: Nov 3, 2009”


  [ # 262 ]

Happy anniversary, indeed! :cheese”

4 years, Tom. And here’s to many more! smile


  [ # 263 ]

Elizabot is looking for a model to represent her in the upcoming contests.

First candidate up… An Italian model, who plays a low poly gamer girl.

You be the judge…  Does gamer girl pass the audition?


  [ # 264 ]

Elizabot continues the search for a female model to try to gain the love

of the contest judges.  What do you think of this futuristic jump suit?


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