The list below is the current list of objectives for the program. It is
reasonable to assume that these will change at least somewhat as the
project moves forward. It is also expected that not all of them will be
implemented at once, but that each implementation of the project will
add features. This list is also not necessarily in order of importance.
Sky Observer's Almanac will be expected to:
- Display rise, transit, and set times for the sun, moon, and
planets, as well as beginning and ending times for twilight. Provide
this information for one day or a specified series of days (week,
- Display current lunar information, such as phase,
illumination, libration, dates of apogee and perigee, etc. Provide this
information for one day or a specified series of days.
- Display current data for the planets (however many you
think we have), such as current position, dates of greatest elongation,
conjunction, opposition, apparent magnitude, visible phase, etc.
- Provide information necessary for observing recurring solar system phenomena, such as comets and meteor showers.
- Display rise, transit, and set times for deep space objects
and other non-solar astronomical phenomena, such as variable stars, and
display basic information about these objects.
- Provide information on satellite passes, spacecraft passes
(International Space Station, Space shuttle, etc), Iridium flares, and
other human produced space objects.
- Provide the ability for an observer to select two or more
objects to observe on a particular date and at a specified location and
calculate the optimal times for observing these objects based on
criteria supplied by the user. This criteria could include, but is not
limited to, integration with satellite/spacecraft/ISS passes so that
photographs would not be affected; integration with Clear Sky Charts
data so that predictions of sky conditions will be taken into account.
- Provide the ability for a user to log observational data in
either formats required for various organizations (ALPO, AAVSO, etc) or
in some form of custom format.
- Generate observing charts for the user specified date/time
and location (NOTE: Because there are plenty of other programs that do
a good job of generating observing charts, this item is expected
to be the last objective to be implemented).
- Make all of this information available via different PC
operating systems (Windows, Linux, MacOS) and other devices such as
smart phones, and via different methods (internet. local PC, network, etc)..
Much of the code necessary to implement these objectives is freely
availaibe from various locations on the web. So implementing these
objectives should not prove too difficult. The difficulty will be in
integrating all of the code and features together. This aspect is
dsicussed in the design and implementation section of the next page.