Mobile Planetarium

for Java-Enabled Mobile Phone
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Ver 0.09


This update focuses on improvement of functions, such as Search, Goto, and Time Jumps are implemented. Minor fixes about info box and some reported bugs.

New Feature:

    Simply type any keyword(case insensitive, not whole word match) in the search box, and search for the whole sky database. Currently searchable objects include "stars with common name", "constellation name/abbr", "planets name, including the Sun and the Moon"(this one is whole-word matched), "Messier Objects by its ID number or common name." [2006/11/18 updated]

    when browsing in information box(planet, messier, bright star, or constellation info box), if it is visible in the current time and location, a new Goto button appears which takes you directly to the position where it is. [2006/11/18 update]

3.Fast Jump over Time
   When in starchart display mode, user can now quickly jump to a time point with various time steps, and watch the sky changing over time. Controllable without jumping out of the main sky screen. [2006/11/20 update]

4.New way to quickly view Messier Info:
    just type the number and press Display. Faster than before.

5.Customize whether to load objects:
    Currently only for solar system planets. User can choose not to load planets into the system, hence enhance the speed of start-up. (The Sun is always loaded, thereby, calculated.)

6.Enhanced Messier Info and info of other objects:
    Add the "size" and "distance" information into messier object info box. There are two more types of objects which are now displayed in a separate info box: Stars with common name, and constellation. Use search function to view them. [2006/11/18 updated]


Slightly more locations in the list. (about 15, most of them are in Asia and Taiwan)  I CANNOT add too much, for the operation of RMS is slow, and it takes up time to start up. (NOTE: When using this software in the first time, it will take LONGER to open up!! Not a bug, but it is something to be improved. --> due to more built-in locations)

Bug Fixes:

1.fix incorrect timezone saving:
     using TextField instead of ChoiceGroup, which leads to problem when the number of entry is large. Still unsolved and I cannot figure out why it is so. (ChoiceGroup's getSelectedIndex simply returns incorrectly)

2.persistant backlight can be turned off:
    some devices report flashing when using persistant backlight feature in v0.08, possibly due to implementation difference of JVM in the devices. If it does not work on your phone, now user can choose not to use the feature in the
preference screen.
Ver 0.08

This is a version which adds some useful small functions with improved UI. There is also fixed information display with accuracy corrected according to calculation algorithm.

New Feature:

  1. A function to prevent the screen from dimming out after a while (due to power saving). Never need to press any key to brighten the screen. (Only for MIDP2.0 version)
  2. Red Eye mode, which uses mostly red as the display color for more eye adaptation.
  3. Improved Preference screen. Now user can fine tune more display settings and save the preference without needing to set it again in the next use. (Saved in RMS)
  4. Improved Location/Time screen. Add more convenient settings such as hemisphere selection and timezone selection.

Bug Fixes:

  1. Fix some planet information and Messier Objects display errors and accuracy problems.
  2. Eliminate some unnecessary on-screen information and information.
  3. Fix direction key problems on some phones like DOPOD 900.


Ver 0.07
New Feature:
  1. On-screen Info is ON by default. Abbreviated Constellation Name is ON by default too.
  2. A customed monospace font added, with each word of size 5x10 pixels. Increased clarity when displaying.
  3. FOV is now an accurate indication on screen size about 180 pixels wide. (10 deg to 180 deg)
  4. Re-calculation is done every 5 minutes in the background, with current progress display on instant info box. 
  5. Two different distribution available from now on. MIDP 1.0, and MIDP 2.0. Difference is that full screen is only availble with MIDP 2.0 distribution, and user input with decimal is manual and inconvenient in MIDP 1.0 distribution.
  6. About 1000-2000 LOC are reviewd and documented. (sorry for my bad programming in the past...)
Bug Fixes:

  1. Grid display is now correct, finally.
  2. Fix zooming in problems. Now the narrowest FOV is about 10 degrees.
  3. Re-start is now correct. User can change position and time and re-start again without problems.
  4. Instant info box is now displayed correctly.
  5. Location selection is now remembered on exit.
Ver 0.06
New Feature:
  1. Some famous observation location in Taiwan is now defined. Location info is now remembered to the next start.
  2. Messier object information and current position is now available.
  3. Black background, and white stars.
  4. More concise On-screen info
  5. 5080 Stars (Bright Star Catalog to mag 6.0). Current displayed number is shown on screen
  6. Increased loading speed. (start-up time is now much shorter) Complicated solar system computation is carried out through threads after the main screen comes out. (2-3 secs on K750i when loading 5 mag stars, 3-4 secs when loading 6 mag stars.)
  7. Function key 8 is added: Display grid On/Off. When off, zenith and horizontal is printed instead.
  8. Messiers location, constellation stick figures, and solar system objects is shown by default.
  9. Full screen is now ok using MIDP2.0. MIDlet Icon is added: Orion drawn by this software.
  10. Changed to MIDP2.0.

Bug Fixes:

  1. The TextField input in Location/Time screen is now with correct type specified.
Ver 0.05

Some fixs:

  1. Some common star names do not match actually stars.
  2. Fix some unnecessary repaint cases.
  3. Fix an exception which occurs when zooming in/out.

Some improvement:

  1. Reduce computation (only the projection and painting parts) by about a half when in horizontal mode. (none is reduced upon loading at system startup)
  2. Add Chinese constellation names, Chinese common star names, and Chinese planets' names. Language (English/Chinese) can be switched by pressing [9].
  3. On-screen information showing Location/Date/Time, starchart mode, display setting, and a "not-yet-implemented" FOV indicator. Can be turned off by pressing [7].
  4. Scaling (zooming in/out) is more reasonable.
  5. Azimuth circles (grid) appear more accurate now by using look-up table instead of direct computations.

Reference Screenshot: here

Ver 0.04

Main Functions:

  1. Both Horizontal and Equatorial Coordinate Display given a fixed time and location.
  2. 88 constellation names, 83 figures, 110 messiers and stars up to mag 5.5 (2887 stars, 50 common star names), increase or decrease by 0.5 mag on screen.
  3. Full 8 planets plus Sun and Moon is calculated, information is displayed respectively on a seperate screen.
  4. Location and Date/Time can be set at startup. Applicable for any location on earth, given a specific time.
  5. Display On/Off [common star name] [contellation name] [constellation figure] [messier] [messier label] [planets]
  6. Tiny 93KB compressed jar file.

Reference Screenshots: here

Ver 0.03

Bug Fixes and New Features:

  1. Fixed-Point class now works correctly
  2. Switch from floating point to fixed point on calculations of planets.
  3. Local orientation is now finished, fixed location currently. Not adjustable through UI.
  4. Messier objects are added.


Ver 0.02

The starchart project was maintained again by me at about 2005/11. The actual reason for the big restart was that my girlfriend bought a SonyEricsson K700i. I thought she would be happy if her phone ran my program. She loves astronomy too. This gave the project new life.

Bug Fixes:

  1. Switch to NetBeans 5.0 beta, fix some ambigious class name which conflicted with J2ME's.
  2. Renderable on different size of screen.

Reference screenshot: 1

Ver 0.01

This project was started on 2004/2/24, and ended temporaily due to unresolved problem of computation efficiency and jar file size limit.

At the time I stopped developing the initial version, I called this version 0.01.

Finished Parts:

  1. Constellation lines and stars can be loaded in equatorial orientation, and can show the whole sky with 350 brightest stars only. Nothing else.
  2. The floating point emulation and trigonometry class are finished and working. Fix-point class are taken from open source library.
  3. Stereographic projection and grid line.
  4. Navigation with direction key
  5. Basic flow control engine

Reference screenshots:

1 2 3