I have two tasks for which I could use some volunteer help. These are peripherally related to AAVSO products. I would like the software to be Python based. Any accepted program would become public domain. Maybe versions of these programs already exist; if so, finding me a link would be wonderful!
- creation of a field-center file. For APASS, APASS2 and a couple of other surveys that I'm involved with, we need a file of field centers for exposures. I would provide a field of view for the camera, along with the required minimum overlap on the edges. Output would be a list of field centers in the form: field_number, RA (decimal degrees), DEC (decimal degrees). Field number would start at 1 for the southernmost field. The challenges here are spherical geometry related. You have to worry about the wrap at 360 degrees RA; the southern vs. northern boundary at 0 degrees DEC, and what to do about the polar fields.
- creation of an Aitoff projection map of an all-sky survey completion in some common graphics format like png/gif/tiff/jpeg/pdf. You would need to show individual field boundaries, with each field colored by the number of accepted visits, so that you get a visual summary of how a survey is progressing. Matplotlib does Aitoff projections, so might be a good starting point. I would provide the list of field centers, the FOV of the camera, and the number of accepted visits per field. The challenge here is how to make a useful plot without getting cluttered, and what to do about overlap regions (especially at the poles).
There might be a few similar Python programs to write in the future. Your reward would be getting involved in some of the surveys, with at least an acknowledgement in any paper, if not coauthorship.
I have skills in python programming, but I'm very new to both astronomy in general as well as AAVSO. Let me know if you still think I could help. I think it would be an interesting challenge.
I have been using Python since V2.7 and have written Python V3 programs including GUIs for (amongst other things) globular cluster analysis from GAIA data. I'm located in the UK (SW of England)
I am developer, having python certification with these module. I can create interactive solution using Python. But in case if you have some strong requirements then I would suggest resources that might be helpful:
- For the creation of a field-center file, you might find the Astroplan package useful. It has built-in functions to calculate field centers for different telescope configurations, and you could adapt these to meet your needs. You can find Astroplan documentation here: https://astroplan.readthedocs.io/en/latest/
- For the creation of an Aitoff projection map, you mentioned Matplotlib, which is a great choice for creating plots in Python. You might also consider using the Basemap package, which has built-in support for creating Aitoff projections. You can find Basemap documentation here: https://matplotlib.org/basemap/
- For finding potential volunteers, you could try posting your request on sites like GitHub or Stack Overflow. There are many Python developers who are interested in astronomy and might be excited to work on a project like this. You could also try reaching out to local astronomy clubs or university astronomy departments to see if any students or faculty members might be interested in volunteering.
I hope this helps, and good luck with your projects!