KStars GSOC: Improving visual realism in KStars with OpenGL
Hello Planet KDE!
My name is Henry de Valence and I’m a first year student at Queen’s University at Kingston, Canada. This summer I’ll be working on KStars as a SoC project, aiming to make the graphics look much more realistic without sacrificing speed. To do this, we’ll use OpenGL. Since not all computers have good OpenGL capabilities, and we don’t want to ruin performance on those computers, we are going to keep the current painting system as an option.
So what does “visual realism” entail? Essentially, it means that if I have KStars running on my computer, I should be able to get KStars to resemble the sky as I can see it. KStars already does this fairly well in that it can calculate the position of all the stars in the sky given the time and my location. What KStars isn’t so good at is the visual display of this. If I load KStars, I see a black sky dotted with stars. If I look outside the window, I see a dark navy blue sky with only a few stars. In order to make it realistic, we need to account for light pollution and the colours of the sky. Fortunately, there are a number of papers that describe these techniques, and an implementation of some of them in Stellarium, so my work is mostly cut out for me.
Anyways, I’m looking forward to getting things done this summer, with the end result being a more beautiful KStars!