ExploreStars connects you and your Explore Scientific PMC-Eight equipped telescope to the universe with any iPad. This platform is designed to simplify your stargazing experience through it's extremely simple and intuitive interface while improving your skills as an astronomer.
ExploreStars has the same basic functions found in other GOTO systems, with an important exception, the app and the command language driving the PMC-Eight is open source - meaning anyone can modify our software or create their own software through our Software Developers Kit (SDK) - and you can download your modified software onto our electronics. Create a Messier challenge. Create a selectable list of objects you want to photograph and program that information into the software. Share it with the community of astronomers that are using this software. We plan to offer a prize with a contest periodically for the best written software code.
Classic four-button pattern for guiding, centering, moving and slewing on the touch screen of your tablet or phone. Selectable and User Enterable GoTo, Slewing, Centering and Guiding Rate. Your standard 1 star, 2 star alignment and 3 star alignment functions. Over 70,000 object database - but wait until you see the interface - it's beauty and the graphics will impress you. Along with Sidereal, King, Lunar, Solar, and user defined tracking rates; Synchronize function; Search function; Coordinate input; Custom mount support using enterable stepper count scaling and Polar Axis Correction (ALIGNMENT PROCESS).
For stellar objects, we are using the Hipparcos/Tycho II database. Where possible, we have cross-referenced the Bayer, Flamstead, SAO, HD/Harvard, DM, BD/CD/CPD, and GSC catalogs. The user can search by any of these designations to find a given star.
For non-stellar objects, we use the RNGC/IC catalog. The system is designed so the user can update the provided catalogs and create your own catalog using tables and scripts in Microsoft Access. Also, each object has a unique ID number, so users can report errors and omissions.
Upon startup of the ExploreStars app, a message that says "Please Wait" is displayed as it links wirelessly to the PMC-Eight, this can take several a few seconds. After it connects, the home screen with a touch sensitive telescope control keypad is on the right, pointing information is displayed in the center, and a touch sensitive finger-drag controller for slewing the telescope in any direction is on the left, that you move your finger across to slew the telescope. You are now ready to start the alignment process and explore the stars.
The source code for ExploreStars is also available for programmers on the OpenGOTO Community to serve as a demonstration platform for those who wish to create their own Astronomy GOTO or Motion Control software for the Explore Scientific PMC-Eight. The PMC-Eight is a powerful wireless 8 CPU micro-controller designed for precision motion control for telescope mounts available through Explore Scientific.