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It's fun to watch the constellations. Sometimes you want to forget about research and just admire the stars.
The sky is vast, and it can be hard to find the constellation you're looking for. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a laser that pointed out the constellations, just like at a planetarium? We developed the “StellarNavi” to do just that.
How StellarNavi Works
StellarNavi combines hardware, in the form of a laser that points to constellations, and an Android app that lets you select the constellation you're looking for. The photo below shows the hardware we created. It receives constellation location information from the app and uses a motor to move the laser to the correct position.
How to Use StellarNavi
First, find a suitable place for stargazing. Place the gimbal (rotating platform) on a level surface. Then, manually rotate the motors to point the laser to the North Star. The hardware is now ready to go!
Next, start the app.
* Star map images are free resources from http://hoshifuru.jp/.
Pinch in/out to zoom in and out on the map, and slide it around until you find the constellation you're looking for. And of course there’s a search function that will find the constellation for you right away.
After that, just tap the constellation button. The app will calculate the location of the selected constellation based on the time and your location, and automatically send that information to the Raspberry Pi.
When the Raspberry Pi receives the constellation location, it uses a motor-control Arduino to move the gimbal. And then, the laser will point out the constellation you're looking for!