Welcoming two GSoC students for KStars this year

I’d like to introduce our two GSoC students for KStars this year.

We have Harry de Valence (hdevalence) working on OpenGL rendering in KStars, and Victor Carbune (carbonix) working on improving astronomical catalog support and social semantic features for KStars this summer.

OpenGL rendering will enable KStars to have far better aesthetic appeal than it currently does. Of course, we cannot raise the bar on hardware requirements just for aesthetic appeal, so Harry plans to ensure that the user will be able to switch between intensive graphics that requires OpenGL, or the existing graphics that are painted using QPainter.

Victor’s project is rather broad. KStars uses data from astronomical catalogs, which is currently stored in flat text files, to determine where to paint a celestial object (like a galaxy), or how bright the object is. As a first, he will get KStars to use SQLite to store and retrieve this data. Then, he plans to explore a different way of storing and reading star catalogs (which demand a lot of optimization!) which will be more extensible than our current implementation. After that, he plans to look into adding some features to KStars that promote community integration amongst amateur astronomers.

Hopefully, at the end of these two GSoCs, KStars will not only look a lot better, but will be a lot more friendly to the hobby astronomer.

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