Something New on the Horizon
This project is a prototype model of a computer controlled telescope. The telescope can be pointed to any direction by sending commands from the computer. The system consists of hardware components, a driving software and a web interface for accessing the system over the internet. The software has provision for capturing both still image and streaming video. It is possible to send requests to the server using the website to view a star or a planet or any stellar object. The driver software running on the server will take the requests from a database, prioritize them and select a request to serve. Then the server will consult a database that holds information of the position of all stars. Then using this information, the server will send commands to the telescope to point to the object, snap an image and upload the image to the requestor's account on the server. Steaming video of important events like meteor showers will also be provided. Then the telescope will be in tracking mode and calculate the necessary correction factor due to the earth's rotation to keep the telescope constantly aiming at the required object.
Idea behind the Project
Many people have a great thirst for knowledge and also a fascination for the wide universe. But most of them can not afford a sophisticated telescope personally. They flock to places to view events like solar eclipse, meteor shower or mars. This project is to provide a solution to their problem.
Combination of a Number of Advanced Technologies
Latest struts technology was used for web development. For the best performance, MSVC++ 6.0 was used for developing the driver software running on the server. Other than MSVC++ 6.0, all other tools including the database server (MySQL) and the web server (Tomcat) are open source and free of cost.
â€¢ Electronic Circuit Components
o Power Unit
o Clock Generator
â€¢ Mechanical Structure
o Light Aluminium Structure
o Horizontal and Vertical Stepper Motor
o 360 Degree Horizontal and 90 Degree Vertical Rotation
o Belt and Gear Mechanism
o 0.1 and 0.08 Degree Precision
â€¢ Digital Web Camera
2) Software and Interfacing:
â€¢ Interfacing with hardware through parallel port
o Data Buffering
o Real time status checking
â€¢ Driver API and controller using Visual C++ 6.0
o On screen visual feedback
o Easy administration interface
o Interaction with VFW (Video for Windows)
o Provision of streaming video, Capturing still image
o Multithreaded real time implementation
3) Web Interface:
â€¢ Struts framework
o J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) based
o MVC (Model-View-Controller) Architecture
o Servlet Technology
o User Interface using JSP (Java Server Pages)
o Platform Independent
o Open Source
4) Web Container:
â€¢ Jakarta Tomcat 4.1.12
o Open source
o Deployment tool: ANT
o Java Technology
o Platform Independent
o Open Source
o Supports SQL99
1. Demonstrated the project at Spacefest 2003, organized by Bangladesh Astronomical Association (December 17 - 21, 2003).
2. 2nd Prize, Hardware Category, 1st Stamford IT Fair 2004, organized by Stamford University (February 26 - 27, 2004).
3. 5th Prize, 5th SoftFair, organized by North South University (March 25 - 27, 2004).
4. 1st Prize, Tech Fair 2004, organized by Department of CSE, BUET (May 27 - 28, 2004).
1. Musfiqur Rouf Nasa [nasarouf AT gmail DOT com]
2. Ahmed Khurshid [ahmedkhurshid80 AT yahoo DOT com]
3. Muhibur Rasheed [m3r2buet AT yahoo DOT com]
4. Kazi Saidul Hasan [saidul29 AT yahoo DOT com]
5. Musfiqur Rahman [musfiqur21 AT yahoo DOT com]
[The developers were undergraduate students of CSE, BUET at the time of development]
Posted on: [2006-07-10]