PlanetFinder is a port of a Java Applet that constructs sky images to the Symbian Series 60 platform.
To construct the image of the sky the application needs the time and the location of the user. The time is read from the phone's clock every time the application is started. To determine the location, the application initially reads the time zone information from the phone's clock and selects the biggest city in that time zone. The selection is made between all cities with a population of 3 millions and more. Daylight savings time is taken into account.
Regarding the image of the sky, please note the following (taken from the Java Applet's site):
- The compass directions may look wrong, but that is because the screen represents the way the sky looks when you look straight up. The compass directions are therefore a mirror image of the compass directions on a map, which represents a view of the land looking down from above.
- The spherical sky has to be projected onto the flat screen. This projection produces distortion, just as a map of the earth inevitably has some distortion. The greatest distortion occurs near the horizon.
- The disks of the sun, moon, and planets are not drawn to scale. Their brightnesses are given as magnitudes to the right of their names. A more negative magnitude means a brighter planet. The magnitudes given for Saturn do not include the brightness of the rings, so Saturn will usually be brighter than indicated.
- This program is only designed to have a limited degree of accuracy, sufficient for most naked-eye astronomy applications.
The application uses full screen mode so that the image of the sky will be larger. This means that the Soft keys are not displayed. Pressing the left soft key though will invoke the menu, while pressing the right soft key will exit the application. The user has two options of selecting the location. In "City selection" mode, the user can select a city from the list with all the cities with population of 3 millions and more. In "Location selection" mode the user can manually set his/her latitude and longitude.
In both modes the user can also:
- Set the time and date.
- Select whether all planets or naked-eye planets only will be visible.
- Hide the names of the planets.
- Select among the image of the sky, the image of inner solar system and the image of outer solar system.
The application will remember the user's settings when the application closes. One exception to this is the time and date, which will be always up-to-date.
The user can use the arrow keys to navigate between the hour and the minutes field in the time representation. The active field is high-lighted. With the Up and Down keys the active field can be incremented/decremented. In "Location selection" mode the user can do the same with the latitude and the longitude. This allows the quick modification of the most common parameters.
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