Astronomy has sure climbed up the ladder of science in the past centuries. Long gone are the days of simple star gazing. Today astronomy may may very well be one of the most complex subject you will ever get to study. Sure sky observation is still there but there is so much more to it than that. Today it just isn't enough to observe and admire (though it is still very much permitted). Today documentation is everything, not just for your own personal use, but for sharing observation and getting down to the bottom of things when you are finding something very curious in the sky. Not just documentation, some things are very much way too subtle to be seen by the naked eye. If we just went with our trained eyes and our trusted telescope chances are we would be missing out on a lot of things going on in our skies.
Furthermore, when observing the sky there can be many elements up there that can confuse your observations. A geostationary satellite for example. If you look at it quickly you might mistake it for another star, you might treat it as a star and later become aware that this star was indeed a satellite. The same can happen for anything else that may be up in the sky. When observing it is important to have at your disposal everything you need to eliminate the obvious and filter out things that can be filtered out so you can concentrate on observing the real deal. As well, there is the whole computational world of astronomy. A multitude of calculations and comparisons can and must be made with the observed object. Many telescopes today can connect to a pc, take pictures of what it sees (or videos) and allow you to save visual observations. Along side that you may want to document what you are seeing to document the photos or videos you are recording.
AstroCASE is greater than the sum of its parts. But it is it's parts that make it a very highly functional and integrated set of tools at your disposal. We'll describe them briefly here and these will be the object of this analysis as well as the force behind the AstroCASE development effort.
Celestial Mapping: Most astronomers will make use of this module. It is a computer version of what is in the sky you are looking at. Any objects that has been looked at is saved in a database, AstroCASE makes use of this database in order to tell you what you are looking at.
Solar System: This is the computerized version of the solar system. Along with functionality you can expect from this type of modules. Ephemeris for example is available from this modules. Information about the moons of Jupiter, Saturn, and all the rest, all available from this very modules.
Satellite Tracking: A great tool in your quest to identify what is in your sky. This module track all synthetic objects along with any satellite tracked by NASA. Basically, celestial mapping in combination with this module together will either tell you what this object you're tracking is, or tell you to pay attention.
Observation Lounge: I called it this name, but in essence this is the core of a software project like AstroCASE. When you are making your observations, you need a tool to keep track of this, where you are on the globe, where you're aiming that telescope, what you are observing and so on, you can keep track of in the observation lounge.
Image Processor: Today this can have a very varied definition. Anything from a loop to add a filter to an image, to an elaborate wave of changes brought to an image can be considered an image processor. Only you define how deep this loop will be and how many things it will affect on the image.
Signal Processor: Is to a signal, what Image processor is to an image, Sometimes the only thing we have on something somewhere in space is a signal, small faint signal that we need to isolate somehow so that we can than work with this signal even more.
Astrophysics: This is the essence of AstroCASE, here is what mathematics meet the physics meet the programming language of AstroCASE. No matter what you can do in AstroCASE you can call on in the programming language. An you will be surprised just what this language can do for you and with you.
Database Maintenance: Needless to say that every module in AstroCASE works with databases to some extend. There are many databases and tables that AstroCASE works with and every one of them is updated in case a change is brought. Some are automatically updated while others will need to be manually done. this means the data you work with can be up to date.
Tools & Utilities: From calendars to contacts to anything different calculators as well as any other tools like text editors, image manipulators, and all the rest, that's what you can expect to find In the tools and utilities section of AstroCASE.
All of these modules will work fine in and of themselves but the strenght will be how they work as integrated modules. as to how you can see in one module you well see in all other modules that are affected by it. when you make a 3D module, you will be able to see in the planetararium if the 3D model affects it in any way.
This application software was born out of three ideas. The first was my natural interest in Astronomy, from a very young age I always love astronomy, astronomical formulas, simulations, and the likes. The jump to want to make this sofware really wasn't that far a jump. I started it and now I'm aiming to finish it because of it's goals and because I want to say that I did it, I've accomplished a software dream.
Here too, this field is every high priced, there is open source, but not in all the modules, and not integrated as I plan on making AstroCASE. In any case the software is quite expansive especially if you're looking at the simulations and models builders. AstroCASE aims to bring you all the computational power out there plus all the tools and utilities to make it a complete Astronomical system.
The goals are simple. I want to offer users a distinctive set of tools to attempt give them everything they could need in their astronomical endeavors. I want to make this an open source project because these calculations simulator and astrophysics and the tools and utilities along with everything else is so integrated. so yes I want it all in the Open Source because there should be such a project in the open source.
I am also making it open source because I want amateur and professional to have the same tools at their disposal. No matter their walk of life, their involvement with astronomy, I want them to all be able to do the same things and obtain the same results. Finally I am using a language that allows me to push the confines of User Interface to the max, and I think astronomy software definitely can benefit from that.
This project exists because of a passion and a dream, so there most definitely is a reason for being, the passion is programming, I just love it too damn much. And the dream, is to mix my programming passion and my astronomical passion and offer a project that is both complete and offer all you could expect and want for your arsenal of astronomical software and analytical tools.
I would like you to look around this project, find out what's missing, and contact me and tell me. Might be a module you've seen or know some other software has. A feature that you have not yet seen, could be anything. Maybe you make an astromical system you would like to share with me in the hopes that it can make it's way into AstroCASE. Whatever it is, let me know I'm open to everything to make this software as complete as it can be.