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Peter AST
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5 Beiträge

Erstellt am: 11.10.2020 :  11:40:50 Uhr  Profil anzeigen  Besuche Peter AST's Homepage  Antwort mit Zitat
Hallo alle

Ich möchte mich Ihrer Community anschließen, mein Deutsch ist nicht so gut für mich, um alles auf Deutsch zu schreiben. Deshalb werde ich auf Englisch schreiben.


I would like to share information that our small startup https://astrospots.com/ has been released.
The main purpose of the application is to build an international database of viewing spots for astronomy observations and astrophotography under the dark sky.

The project is just starting. The basic functionalities have been added. Including - adding, rating, commenting spots.Each point is described by properties like name,
GPS location, information about the shape of the horizon line N, S, W, E, Bortle scale, travel parameters, etc.

But I would like to ask more experienced colleagues for opinions and suggestions. What’s determining a good viewing spot?
What would you like to see/use in this kind of website? What can we improve?


Any feedback is more than welcome and I will be happy to answer all your questions.

Schöne Grüße
Peter AST

Bearbeitet von: Peter AST am: 11.10.2020 11:43:24 Uhr

Kerste
Altmeister im Astrotreff

Deutschland
1350 Beiträge

Erstellt  am: 11.10.2020 :  23:06:50 Uhr  Profil anzeigen  Besuche Kerste's Homepage  Antwort mit Zitat
Hello!

Interesting project - I just wonder about the selection of observatories. If I look at Heilbronn, there is the Experimenta Sternwarte, which is open at daylight and sometimes does public observations in the evening, but is so far not further accessible for provate observations, while the much older Robert-Mayer-Sternwarte (sternwarte.org), which is managed by a club where you can become a member and use the telescopes, is not mentioned.

At first glance, so far there are only observatories listed?

What I would expect is an overlay with the lightpollution like at https://www.lightpollutionmap.info.

Best regards,
Alex

Literatur zur Astronomie mit dem Fernglas:
http://www.fernglasastronomie.de
http://freebook.fernglasastronomie.de
Auch auf Amazon.de
Are you following me? https://twitter.com/AlexKerste

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Peter AST
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5 Beiträge

Erstellt  am: 12.10.2020 :  12:18:32 Uhr  Profil anzeigen  Besuche Peter AST's Homepage  Antwort mit Zitat
Hello Alex

Thank you for your kind words. Let me answer your questions.

The observatories have been imported from the public MCP list. We are aware of fact that some of them are publicly available for people.
We thought that this is valuable information for users that are starting with Astro hobby. That they would like to get starting advice
from the source - and natural source is an observatory located near you.

Unfortunately, these are the only information available and as you noticed, some of the observatories are also not listed on that list.
If there is any observatory or spot that you would like to add – I encourage you to create an account and add it.
On Youtube, we also placed a quick video on how to do that :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3NpBivY7hE


For that one, you mentioned near Heilbronn, if you will give me a deskription I can quickly update it. And if you know both of them.
You can rate them and start a discussion about them.

Right now, we are in process of informing as many as possible Astro communities around the world, about the project. As amateur astronomers,
we know how important is the proper location for Astro observation and astrophotography that require time.

That why we kindly asking for feedback and suggestions. Feature related to light pollution is already on our short implementation list.
You can also have a look at the public Trello Feedback Board
https://trello.com/b/0XjiGrCS/astrospotscom

Where we are communicating about the current application state and progress. I think that’s it. The post is already long :D
Thank you for your suggestions and question. If you have more – I would be happy to answer them.

Schöne Grüße
Peter AST

Bearbeitet von: Peter AST am: 12.10.2020 12:19:08 Uhr
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Caro
Astrophysikerin

Deutschland
6345 Beiträge

Erstellt  am: 13.10.2020 :  13:38:24 Uhr  Profil anzeigen  Besuche Caro's Homepage  Antwort mit Zitat
Hi Peter,

just FYI: There is a reason why e.g. the German Astronomical Directory GAD (https://www.sternklar.de/gad/), which lists all planetaria, public observatories and amateur associations in Germany, does not provide a map or kml file: Concerns were raised several years ago that a map that shows all the exact locations would make it very easy for burglars specialized on stealing astro equipment to find a whole list of remote but easily accessible places for their next raid. And while several of the MPC observatory codes belong to research institutes or public observatories that can be found on the internet anyway, the remaining ones are private observatories whose owners might worry about this too (or simply do not want their observatory to be featured publicly). For similar reasons (but mainly of course for much better accuracy), the MPC itself only provides a list with parallax constants which have to be converted to latitude first for a map projection. Keeping this in mind, you might want to reconsider featuring the MPC obs codes this way.

Best regards
Carolin

Bearbeitet von: Caro am: 13.10.2020 13:40:58 Uhr
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Peter AST
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5 Beiträge

Erstellt  am: 13.10.2020 :  14:04:20 Uhr  Profil anzeigen  Besuche Peter AST's Homepage  Antwort mit Zitat
Hello Carolin

Thank you for pointing this out, it is important. We will think about how we can target this concern and improve.

Anyway, this data is publicly available and already converted on Wikipedia for 2 years now https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_observatory_codes

and it can be easily found on other maps, too.

Best regards
Peter AST

Bearbeitet von: Peter AST am: 13.10.2020 14:06:37 Uhr
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TakFan
Meister im Astrotreff

Deutschland
583 Beiträge

Erstellt  am: 13.10.2020 :  14:52:05 Uhr  Profil anzeigen  Antwort mit Zitat
Dear Peter,

Your aim is of a good intention.

Yet, there are typically two reasons why (non-public) observing sites are not posted in public. Burglary is the obvious one for fixed installations (and this is a real issue). For mobile sites, people are afraid of spoiling "their" spot since it may eventually turn into a hot spot with too many people showing up on clear nights.

Requests for a recommendation of a good observing locations in area XYZ in forums is typically left unanswered for this very reason (apart from some well-known ones).

An app guiding persons to a recommended location would be the opposite of what I would like to see - if it was my favorite spot.

Just my 5c.

CS
Dirk

TSA-120 + FS-60CB auf EM-200 / FS2 und
FC-76D auf EM-200 / FS2
16" / f4,5 Optiques Mirrosphère, DobsonFactory
https://www.astrobin.com/users/TakFan/

Bearbeitet von: TakFan am: 13.10.2020 20:56:21 Uhr
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Cleo
Altmeister im Astrotreff


1791 Beiträge

Erstellt  am: 13.10.2020 :  19:29:43 Uhr  Profil anzeigen  Antwort mit Zitat
Hi Peter,

I think like Dirk - an app guiding persons to a recommended location far from my favourite spot would be great :-)

More seriously: "serious" observers (whatever this means), visual or photographic, do not want anyone to show up with the car lights on at night, or leave earlier (e.g. you also mention families as one group you are targeting - I guess they do not stay as long as I do). If one thing, I could imagine an app where I could "book" my favourite spot! Seeing in advance who's there already would also be great - and something I would not share publicly in an app, or at least only with the few people I know and would like to meet. Maybe that's something.

The "less serious" observers who don't care about dark adaption may like your app though - although I think you will not find them here, or at least not yet. Maybe that's the same group as the potential Stellina users, just a different way of doing astronomy.

Best regards

Holger



Machen ist wie wollen, nur krasser.

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Kalle66
Forenmeister im Astrotreff

Deutschland
10649 Beiträge

Erstellt  am: 14.10.2020 :  10:45:34 Uhr  Profil anzeigen  Antwort mit Zitat
Hi,
I personal do not fear overcrowding of some secluded spot suited for amateur astronomy. If you are close to a city you will meet people going out with their dogs at night time. You probably meet some local hunters or farmers working at night time. Germany has a dense population (smaller than CA but twice the population). Everywhere within ~5 km there is at least a small village. The biggest free areas are some military training grounds. 99% of the people you meet at night you'll meet anyway.

In Germany we have a high sense of data privacy and a more restrictive legislation. This leads to pixelizing private homes in Google street view or preventing private phone number entries in public databases without consent. Think of it before filing private observatories. You have to ask for. There is no general consent because some other source allready filed it.

Btw. using a complete data base is a matter of copyrights even if the data base is public.

Data I like to find in a data base is about weather. E.g. a deep link to weather forecasts.

Kalle - Alles wird gut !
Meine Okulardatenbank im Astrotreff: hier
Termine Teleskoptreffen gibt es hier

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Cleo
Altmeister im Astrotreff


1791 Beiträge

Erstellt  am: 14.10.2020 :  12:01:35 Uhr  Profil anzeigen  Antwort mit Zitat
Kalle,

I disagree, but maybe I am only lucky with my observing spots. There are only meadows and forest and thus no farmers at night. I have never met anyone with a dog. The local hunter gets a short message before I leave and stays away. Every single person showing up in addition would make a big difference.

Holger

Machen ist wie wollen, nur krasser.

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Peter AST
Neues Mitglied


5 Beiträge

Erstellt  am: 14.10.2020 :  13:19:35 Uhr  Profil anzeigen  Besuche Peter AST's Homepage  Antwort mit Zitat
Hallo alle

That is an interesting and motivating conversation. Happy to hear and read all your answers, and glad we have this. I’ll try to address your questions.
In the beginning - just wanted to set the common ground of understanding for further discussion.

Astrospots.com is an international database for Astro communities from around the world. Each person is responsible for adding and managing a specific spot inside the system.
There is NO Web Scraping, Web Harvesting related to acquiring spots. So, if a spot is shown in the system, someone else has to add it – it’s an application for communities.

Concerns.
“Yet, there are typically two reasons why (non-public) observing sites are not posted in public. Burglary is the obvious one for fixed installations (and this is a real issue)”
We totally agree with this statement and we do NOT want private Astro installations, to be added to the system. Astrospots.com contains a protection/prevention mechanism related to that - reporting system.
So, if the spot is inappropriate or violating good spot rules (same for spot rating and comments) it can be reported and it will be deleted.
Please have a look at the attached print screen to see how it works :
https://imgur.com/a/mEJTN2Q

If you do not want to create an account, just drop me an email with a link to spot – and I’ll delete it!

About “to crowded” spots, - I understand this concern, but please – astronomy is not like football.
I can’t believe that there will be mass crowds visiting each spot every clear night, especially wintertime.
Especially family with kids, after 9.00 pm kids are tired and thinking about bedtime, older ones about TikTok or YouTube.
Not to see stars 40km from home in the middle of nowhere.

Please remember – this application is for all of US and base on free goodwill and community responsibility.
We are not asking or expecting to share all your favorite places - If you have this dream one. Keep it.

Education.
Concern related to ruining astrophotography is important – I think we all understand it!
But still, we can educate less experienced fellow astronomer, they should reduce car lights when approaching the spot or even leave the car a few meters before the spot.
That they should use red lights and not running laptops with full brightness etc.

Possibility
Thank to our conversation I can see a few potential features that can be added to the project :
- informing local authorities about possible observations – this is from Kelle and Holger conversation,
- information about whether and forecast – from Kelle - is already on our long list, we consider the possibility to use free sources vs paid ones,
- creating private spots and groups around then is a very interesting feature from Holger, I will add it to our public feedback board for voting.

Summary
This community is awesome! Thank you and I hope we can continue this valuable conversation.
Soon we will plan to release a new version with bug fixes and a more informative first page with a features list.

Cheers
Peter AST


Bearbeitet von: Peter AST am: 14.10.2020 14:13:34 Uhr
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TakFan
Meister im Astrotreff

Deutschland
583 Beiträge

Erstellt  am: 14.10.2020 :  15:14:17 Uhr  Profil anzeigen  Antwort mit Zitat
Dear Peter,

Maybe you could give us some personal background? Are you into astrophotography yourself or are you a web application developer?

Where are you based?

Reading this:

"But still, we can educate less experienced fellow astronomer, they should reduce car lights when approaching the spot or even leave the car a few meters before the spot. That they should use red lights and not running laptops with full brightness etc.",

it seems you are not doing astrophotography yourself. This is not how people behave out there.


"astronomy is not like Football". Well, say I would recommend a decent observing spot within 50km range from the Ruhr area, you bet that there will be a crowd out there each good night, spoiling any astrophoto. Germany is densely populated.

Say I would tell about a nice spot to two or three others, I might run into the risk, that one of them posts it in the app. Suddenly I would wonder where the increased number of people got to know about this spot. It would be spoiled forever.

Well this sound selfish, I agree, but astrophotography locations are rare enough to be spoiled I'd say. An average place to experience the stars doesn't need an app. Just drive to the city limits.


For education we have something marvelous already around. Observatories open to the public. All over the place. What more do you need? This should be the first contact for anybody interested into astronomy. They run presentations, public observations and they eagerly look for young, new members.


Best regards,
Dirk

TSA-120 + FS-60CB auf EM-200 / FS2 und
FC-76D auf EM-200 / FS2
16" / f4,5 Optiques Mirrosphère, DobsonFactory
https://www.astrobin.com/users/TakFan/

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NormanG
Altmeister im Astrotreff

Deutschland
2101 Beiträge

Erstellt  am: 14.10.2020 :  15:15:34 Uhr  Profil anzeigen  Antwort mit Zitat
Hello Peter and all,

Holger wrote
Zitat:
Every single person showing up in addition would make a big difference.


That´s exactly the main issue. All the spots i know work fine with let me say 2-3 people. As soon as one site is better known or kind of made official people take things for granted and tend to behave egoistic.

Garbage is one of the smaller problems then...

It´s always a matter of trust and good will between property owner and visitor.

In addition to this i personally do not want strange people at "my" site. When i feel like observing with a companion, i take some friends with me. In most cases i love the hobby for having silence and nature around me only.

However astrospots is a nice idea collecting at least most of the places that are offical observing sites just like in the "Eifel" "Rhoen" e.g.
which you usually don´t know when not living in that country.


CS
Norman


gepimpter 12" Sumerian-Dob mit f/4,5-Nauris-HS, 72 mm Lacerta Apo

- who stands the rain deserves the sun! -

Bearbeitet von: NormanG am: 14.10.2020 17:17:48 Uhr
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Peter AST
Neues Mitglied


5 Beiträge

Erstellt  am: 21.10.2020 :  14:06:41 Uhr  Profil anzeigen  Besuche Peter AST's Homepage  Antwort mit Zitat
Hello Alle

Thank you for your comments, it’s always good to listen to more experienced.
Hmmm looks like there is a need to having private spots that can be shared with close fellows’ astronomers.
Not sure if spot reservation would be an option - maybe on private/comercial locations, hmm...

Anyway, this was a busy week, just wanted to let you know that project has been updated. Please see below a list of features that have been introduced in this release:

1. Concerns around MPC Observatory list:
We try to detect if we can distinct private and public observatory somehow, and we couldn’t find a reasonable solution.
That why, considering all concerns and the fact we don’t want to publish anyone private observatory too, and our reporting system may not be effective when you don’t know about it, long story short we decided to remove ALL MPC observatories from the list.
We are in process of adding only public observatories that we are sure about. If you can’t see the observatory in your city – please let us know or just add it to the map.

2. Light pollution map has been added to map,
3. Clouds forecast has been added to map and we are in the middle of testing,
4. Social media link sharing has been improved for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn,
5. The landing page has been improving, now contains a list of features available in the system,
6. Bug fixes: we fix a few issues and bugs that will increase map functionality and stability.

I think that’s it for now. Please give it a try and let me know what you think.

Cheers
Peter

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