Re: [guide-user] Representations of heaven more attractive in guide 9. For when will that be?

Bill Gray Jun 26, 2013

On 06/26/2013 10:44 AM, JoeMize wrote:
> Plz don't change the intent of Guide at the expense of prettying things
> up...joe :)

It's not going to happen.

At times, I've added "pretty" things, but they've been intended to have
some sort of practical purpose. The way planet bitmaps show up is certainly
attractive, but it also lets you tell which features are visible and what
parts of a planet are illuminated. The "realistic sky" feature looks nice,
but is really more about giving you an idea as to just how dark it would be
at the time and place in question. The "horizon objects" are mostly useful
to keep you oriented as to the direction in which you're looking.

I think at that point, I've run out of "prettied-up" things currently
in Guide, and can say that each serves some kind of practical end. (Well,
almost. Being able to see historical maps of Mars with canals is, I admit,
not especially practical.)

There are a long list of things I'd like to add. For example : I often
get inquiries about how to get a particular dataset on/off/different color/
different limiting magnitude. The problem is that certain datasets have
very different controls; ideally, they'd all be handled in some consistent
way. (Probably in the way that user-added datasets are handled.) This would
be less confusing to people. I'd be writing fewer e-mails that start with,
"I realize the following makes little sense, but..."

There should be options to have certain solar system objects be handled
with numerical integration. This has been a real annoyance/embarrassment for
many years. (Fortunately, I've had cause to revise the numerical integrator
in Find_Orb to make this at least slightly less of a "blue sky" project.)

The ways in which asteroid and comet elements are handled is _much_ better
in the current development version, but still trips people up at times.
Similarly with the way in which certain plug-in datasets such as UCAC-4
and B1.0 are handled. (As you may have gathered from the number of posts
on that subject on this list!)

I also need to get more source code posted (currently, it's just the
underlying "basic astronomical functions").

Guide's best map of the moon is based on Clementine data. We now have
LOLA (Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter, a sensor on the Lunar Reconnaissance
Orbiter) data that would allow for much better maps, ones that could even
show reasonably exact shadow patterns for the current date/time. (This
becomes computationally easy if you take one simplifying assumption: namely,
that the moon is not inclined to the ecliptic. It actually is, of course,
but only by about 1.5 degrees at most.)

...And many others, of course; I just list the above to give a flavor of
the sort of things for which people are usually asking.

-- Bill