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What this page is about

This page is intended to list out some small jobs that, if completed, would help KStars become better and more usable. There are both easy ones and hard ones.

If you are interested in contributing to KStars, but don't know where to start, this is probably the best place.

Keeping track of Development

The best way to keep track of Development in KStars is to use the mailing list: See The List Information Page to subscribe.

If you prefer IRC, we hang out on #kde-kstars on

We keep track of bugs and wishlists on The KDE bugzilla

Please do not hesitate to ask if you need help with contributing! We're always looking out for contributors and will be happy to help you out.

The Tasks

Import Washington Double Star Catalog

Import Washington Double Star catalog into KStars. This is a very challenging task because KStars does not support double-stars metadata natively. Neither starData nor deepStarData structures contain fields for double star metadata like separation angle, discovery date..etc. Furthermore, many star in WDS exist already in KStars own Hipparchus and Tycho2 catalogs. To avoid duplication and since Tycho2 is the larger data set of the two, one solution is to update Tycho2 to accommodate WDS data by cross-referencing. If there is another solution to duplicate stars, please suggest it.

Migrate KPlotting classes to QCustomPlot or Qt Charts

Many classes in KStars are still using KPlotting library but since it is not actively developed, we would like to migrate away either to QCustomPlot class or Qt Charts module. You can start by migrating the AVT widget from KPlotting to QCustomPlot or Qt Charts.

Investigate NEOs

We import asteroid/comets data from JPL and update their regularly. However, some NEOs are missing and not imported from JPL. A web-query is generated and sent to JPL and then a file downloaded and parsed by KStars. This web query was not updated in a long time and should be updated to make sure all asteroids, including NEOs are properly imported. For example, 2003 YT1 is missing from KStars but it exists in JPL database. Find out how JPL spits out the data and construct a proper POST query to obtain the correct required data set for KStars.

Display FWHM and Star Profile in FITS Viewer

KStars FITS Viewer tool can calculate the overall Half-Flux-Radius (HFR) of stars in an image by summing each star's own HFR and then taking the average. Some users are interested to know the HFR of a single star, in addition to Full-Width-Half-Modulation (FWHM) and star profile (pixel distance from center vs. intensity). A tool-tip like popup when clicking on individual stars in the FITS image would be ideal as it would give users a quick access to some important information regarding a particular star.

Start by looking at how stars are detected and how HFR is calculated in FITSData class. Then calculate FWHM and construct a simple stellar profile diagram if the user clicks on a particular star.

Auto-suggest well-placed objects for observation / imaging

Aim: To auto-suggest objects that are well-placed in the night sky to users

Step 1: Move the wishlist feature into a database and support multiple wishlists, and rename it to something else. Ship pre-loaded wish-lists along with KStars, of varying levels of difficulty / experience / instrument requirements.

Step 2: Create a backend that will efficiently determine which objects are well-placed (lower than some threshold airmass set by the user) from one or more wishlists.

Step 3: Create a UI that will present one well-placed object to the user. The user may skip objects / cycle through suggestions. Skipped objects should not be displayed for a long time.

For more details, contact Akarsh Simha

Debug the Sky Calendar

The Sky Calendar tool lives in the Tools menu of KStars. The tool now has the labels that it needed badly. However, some lines still don't get labelled because the code isn't robust. The tool also fails at high latitudes. It would be helpful if the Sky Calendar was made complete and bug-free.

Add Lunar Eclipses

KStars doesn't predict Lunar Eclipses. Neither does it display them. It would be really useful if it could do these things.

One way to do this would be to create a virtual Sky Point, maybe called 'EarthShadow', whose position would be just opposite the sun. An eclipse will be a conjunction between EarthShadow and the moon.

Another possible way to do it is to add functionality to KSMoon, so that we check if the moon is in the shadow of the earth before drawing its image.

Fix refraction bugs

Because the refraction correction and its inverse are not perfect inverses, there are a whole bunch of problems when refraction corrections are turned on. It would greatly help KStars if this was fixed.

Fix all those translation bugs

Now, this is a big task.

SkyObject classes (see skyobject.h under kstars/skyobjects) should have some standard way of storing names. Currently, some SkyObjects store untranslated names and some store translated names, leading to a big mess. SkyObject should probably store untranslated name strings internally, and return untranslated names upon calling name(). The objectNames() hashes should ideally have untranslated names as well.

So how do we find by translated name? The best way, probably is to have a "reverse translation hash". Since very few objects have translated names, it might be easy to maintain a global hash of translated names vs. untranslated names in some convenient place (probably as a static member of SkyComposite) and do searches for translated names through this.

Implementing this will fix a whole lot of translation-related bugs that are on our bugzilla, and make life for people who use localized versions easier.

Fix JupiterMoons

This was originally a GSoC idea, but I thought it was a bit too "small" for a whole summer. The idea is to implement a class that handles moons of planets in the solar system in KStars. Calculations for Jupiter Moons are incorrect which forced us to disable the tool until it is fixed. Identify what is wrong the algorithm and fix it.

Currently, we have the JupiterMoons classes. What should be done now, is to pack the machinery that goes into this class into a generic class (probably called 'SolarSystemMoons'), various instances of which, could represent the moons of Jupiter, Saturn, Mars...

All our class would need to do, to assume the form of say, JupiterMoons, would be to read off data corresponding to JupiterMoons from some file, say "solarsystemmoons.dat"!

Generalize the Jupiter's Moons Tool

See Tools -> Jupiter's Moons. What if I could do this in general with SolarSystemMoons? [See earlier task for details]

Comets that looks like comets!

Comets in KStars are currently drawn as dull green circles (at least in the default color scheme). That's not what they look like, in reality!

The machinery required to estimate nucleus and coma sizes, and tail lengths of comets are all there in KSComet and KSPlanetBase. What needs to be done, is to provide a proper representation of a comet based on these data on the Sky Map.

Remember that a comet's tail points away from the Sun! You can use this to fix the direction of the tail - so you have all information required to draw the comet.

Re-implement CometsComponent::draw() to draw better comets.

Peng "Charles" Chang has already done a good amount of work to support this feature. It needs some polishing, though.


Fix those inconsistencies with comets

Jeamy Lee, a KStars user and contributor, notices that our Sun-Comet distances are wrong! This makes all calculated parameters come out incorrectly. Find his mail with some details here.

Ideas are welcome!

If you are a user of KStars and have some cool, simple ideas that would make your experience with KStars better, you are welcome to add them to the list above, or discuss them on the kstars-devel mailing list (or post them as wishlists / bug reports on the bugzilla).

This page was last modified on 25 January 2017, at 09:38. Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 3.0 as well as the GNU Free Documentation License 1.2 unless otherwise noted.