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Planetarium software on the Pi

Pi Skymap

What's the problem ?

Todays over-bloated software tuns on multi-GHz multi-core CPU's with GB's of RAM and TFlop accelerated graphics cards. Whilst the Pi 'almost' has all of this (or at least the B2 does), it's still an order of magnitude less than what's expected, especially in the graphics department. As a consequense, whilst Stellarium 'works', it runs so slowly as to be practically unusable on the B2 (and is totally unusable on any other Pi). If you have a B2 and want to try it out :-

sudo apt-get install stellarium

Is there a solution ?

Yes = kstars. Written when 'state of the art' was an Intel 386 with Mb's (rather than Gb's) of RAM, it's actually usable on all the Pi's :-

sudo apt-get install kstars

NB. Kstars is part of the 'KDE Edu' suite, so you will be using the KDE desktop and will likley want a desktop icon :-) From the Pi terminal window :-

cp /usr/share/applications/kde4/kstars.desktop /home/pi/Desktop
To run Kstars on Windows, you have to install the 'KDE for Windows' package (for more information, visit edu.kde.org/kstars site)

One big advantage of Kstars is that it suppports the 'INDI' standard for telescope control (which is well suited to Linux and the Pi), whilst Stellarium is more wedded to the 'PC only' approach known as 'ASCOM'. Kstars also has it's 'own' Astrophotography support package known as 'ekos' (for more information, visit the //indilib.org/about/ekos.html page)

Since INDI v1.2.0, you need Raspian Jessie to install the packages. Wheezy packages are no longer offered. You can download the package from indilib.org. Before you extract the package, you must install the following dependencies:-

sudo apt-get install cdbs libcfitsio3-dev libnova-dev libusb-1.0-0-dev libjpeg-dev libusb-dev libtiff5-dev libftdi-dev fxload libkrb5-dev libcurl4-gnutls-dev dcraw libgphoto2-dev libgsl0-dev dkms libboost-regex-dev libgps21 libdc1394-22-dev

After the dependencies are installed, get and extract the package and install INDI library and 3rd party drivers:-

$ tar -xzf libindi_1.2.0_rpi.tar.gz
$ cd libindi_1.2.0_rpi
$ sudo dpkg -i *.deb
Modern telescopes come with a RJ12 socket 'guide port' known as a 'ST-4'. The 'port' is essentially wired to the hand-controller up/down (Dec), left/right (RA) buttons, and 'works' by pulling the line Lo ('shorting' to Gnd) for some number of milli-seconds per 'step'. It's main advantage is that it's so simple that it can be built into stand-alone guide cameras (no PC required)

Next page :- Digital Setting Circle - (Telescope position sensing)