The ExploreStars Android App runs on tablets with KitKat or later OS and external storage, such as a MicroSD card.
ExploreStars connects you and your Explore Scientific PMC-Eight equipped telescope to the universe with any Android Tablet Running KitKat or later. (External storage, such as MicroSD is required.) This platform is designed to simplify your stargazing experience through it's extremely simple and intuitive interface while improving your skills as an astronomer.
ExploreStars has the same basic functions found in other GOTO systems, with an important exception, the app and the command language driving the PMC-Eight is open source - meaning anyone can modify our software or create their own software through our Software Developers Kit (SDK) - and you can download your modified software onto our electronics. Create a Messier challenge. Create a selectable list of objects you want to photograph and program that information into the software. Share it with the community of astronomers that are using this software. We plan to offer a prize with a contest periodically for the best written software code.
Classic four-button pattern for guiding, centering, moving and slewing on the touch screen of your tablet or phone. Selectable and User Enterable GoTo, Slewing, Centering and Guiding Rate. Your standard 1 star, 2 star alignment and 3 star alignment functions. Over 70,000 object database - but wait until you see the interface - it's beauty and the graphics will impress you. Along with Sidereal, King, Lunar, Solar, and user defined tracking rates; Synchronize function; Search function; Coordinate input; Custom mount support using enterable stepper count scaling and Polar Axis Correction (ALIGNMENT PROCESS).
For stellar objects, we are using the Hipparcos/Tycho II database. Where possible, we have cross-referenced the Bayer, Flamstead, SAO, HD/Harvard, DM, BD/CD/CPD, and GSC catalogs. The user can search by any of these designations to find a given star. When the system first starts, it loads the 2,000+ stars of magnitude 5.5 and brighter. The user can load the additional 72,000+ star catalog as needed.
For non-stellar objects, we use the RNGC/IC catalog. The system is designed so the user can update the provided catalogs and create your own catalog using tables and scripts in Microsoft Access. Also, each object has a unique ID number, so users can report errors and omissions.
To start using ExploreStars, download the free app by clicking the logo above and load it to your Windows device, and also download the celestial data set that contains the astronomical catalogs, reference images, and reference text. Simply by unzipping the ExploreStars folder containing the expanded celestial data set into your Pictures directory, you will expand the native database from a thousand objects to over seventy thousand objects.
Upon startup of the ExploreStars app, a message that says "Please Wait" is displayed as it links wirelessly to the PMC-Eight, this can take several a few seconds. After it connects, the home screen with a touch sensitive telescope control keypad is on the right, pointing information is displayed in the center, and a touch sensitive finger-drag controller for slewing the telescope in any direction is on the left, that you move your finger across to slew the telescope. You are now ready to start the alignment process and explore the stars.
The source code for ExploreStars is also available for programmers on the OpenGOTO Community to serve as a demonstration platform for those who wish to create their own Astronomy GOTO or Motion Control software for the Explore Scientific PMC-Eight™. The PMC-Eight is a powerful wireless 8 CPU micro-controller designed for precision motion control for telescope mounts available through Explore Scientific.
Installation: (to install updates, start with step 5)
- Download the Database and Images: ExploreStars.zip 90 MB (DB 2.3)
- Unzip and install the files to your MicroSD card. The resulting file structure should look like this:
- Install the MicroSD card in your Android tablet
- Under Settings/APPS/ExploreStars grant Permissions for External Storage and Location.
- Using a web browser on your Android, navigate to this webpage and download the APK file: ES_Android.1.16.zip 16 MB (8/5/2019 v.1.3.19217.453 DB 2.3
- Once the file is downloaded, open the file/install the App
- The first time you run the App, you will need to initialize the settings:
- Open the Settings screen from the Menu
- Tap Load GPS Coordinates
- To make sure that the correct Mount info is loaded, select a Scope Type DIFFERENT from your actual mount
- Tap the Home button to load the settings.
- Return to the Settings screen, select the correct Scope Type from the list, and tap the Home button again to save the settings.
- Close the App
- Connect to the PMC-Eight network and restart ExploreStars