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New Feature Ideas

This page contains a summary of things I have been thinking about for upcoming features. If you'd like to add something here, or comment on something already listed, please get in contact with me via the site contact form.

New Feature Ideas

  • Astrometry Support

I have recently been playing around with the plate solver engine from with some success. It would be nice to have an astrometry engine available as an external application that could interface with EQMac. This could be used to do automatic star alignment, among other things, whereby the app could slew to lots of different places in the sky, capture an image, plate solve the image, and then do a sync operation with EQMac based on the plate solved coordinates. This would support the construction of more sophisticated pointing models.

  • Mosaic Support

It would be nice to support an external application that would make it easy to build mosaic images of very wide field targets. This would be much like the EQMosaic application that is part of the EQMOD project.

  • Gamepad Integration - Complete
  • Sky Safari Integration - Complete

Southern Stars sell a planetarium application for various platforms including Mac OS X, iPad, and iPhone. This software allows control of various mounts via an IP connection, typically wireless, and perhaps using their SkyFi adapter. However, EQMac is able to offer an IP interface that enables Sky Safari to control the mount via EQMac. This means you can use Sky Safari on your Mac or iOS device to control your mount for slewing and syncing.

  • SkyFi Integration

Southern Stars also sell a WiFi-to-Serial adapter designed to interface with their SkySafari planetarium software. This allows you to use your Apple device to control your telescope. It would be nice to be able to insert EQMac in the middle of this link, so that SkySafari would send control commands to EQMac, and EQMac can then control the mount via a SkyFi wireless connection.

  • Equinox 6 Integration - Complete

Another planetarium application. Integration can be achieved in a similar way to Sky Safari.

  • Cartes du Ciel Integration

Many people, including myself, feel that Stellarium, whilst being a generally nice looking piece of software, is a bit of a resource hog and isn't really very useful out in the field when you don't really want your Mac's fans blazing trying to cool itself down. Therefore, I have been looking into ways to integrate other planetarium software. CdC seems to support integration with INDI-based telescope drivers. Thus, the simplest way to integrate with CdC would be to provide an INDI interface to EQMac. I plan to do this in an upcoming release.

  • Precession of Slew Coordinates

Currently the EQMac star catalogs are all in J2000. Planetarium software, such as Stellarium, sends slew coordinates in JNow. This causes a problem if you do your SYNCs using the EQMac Star Chart and then try to start slewing to things using Stellarium. Due to precession, the pointing accuracy will be out. If you then proceed to do more SYNCs from Stellarium, you'll have a mix of SYNC points in J2000 and JNow and things really won't work right. Therefore, it would be better if EQMac would precess all coordinates to JNow, whenever necessary, so that things are at least consistent between applications.

  • 3-star alignment

Currently EQMac supports multiple 1-star alignments and uses the SYNC point nearest your target to perform slew corrections. This seems to work ok, but only in the regions of the sky that you have SYNC data for. By adding 3-star alignment, EQMac will be able to correct more accurately across a wider expanse of sky with less SYNC data. It will also provide an equivalent feature to the Synscan handset that we are trying to replace.

  • Messier + Planetary / Lunar Positions in Sky Chart

EQMac contains the SAO and NGC/IC catalogs at present. This means that some Messier objects that do not also have NGC numbers are not present, such as M45. Also, it would be nice to include the planetary and lunar positions for easy slewing to these targets.

  • TheSky Integration

Another planetarium application. I have not yet investigated the best way to integrate. I do not own a copy of this software so this feature may be a while coming.

  • AOSX Integration

Astronomy on OS X (AOSX) is a project being developed to provide an ASCOM-style platform for Mac OS X. When the AOSX standards are more stable and complete, it would be great to integrate EQMac with AOSX so that other applications can more easily integrate with it. For example, rather than all the proprietary / special purpose protocols used to do the planetarium interfaces above, AOSX would provide a new standard and open way to integrate astronomy software with hardware.

  • Periodic Error Correction

Would be nice to support PEC capture, analysis, and playback.