Viewing entries in 0.6: Team Size Doubling + iObserve on the web ! 0.6: Team Size Doubling + iObserve on the web !

This is a milestone for Arcsecond ! I am happy to announce that Eric Depagne, currently astronomer at SAAO/SALT has agreed to join his forces to His expertise with Python will help a lot on the backend, but I don't expect him to remain within the boundaries of it! 

Moreover, we releases iObserve on the web ! Not as feature-rich as the macOS app yet. But already new features that will belong only to Arcsecond: Night Logs (in prep) and Data !

Freely regsiter in and tell us what you think !

 iObserve on the web

iObserve on the web

iObserve on the web is coming

iObserve on the web is coming

Well, winter is already there, anyway. So now, iObserve is coming ... on the web. #GameOfCurves

For those who don't know yet, iObserve on the web is called You can already checkit out here.

I am very proud of the progresses. But there is a lot to iron out (I had to work on various API endpoints to make it work: /observingsites, /observingruns, /nightlogs, /observations, /users, /telescopes).

But I can't wait to share with you a (debug) screenshot of the current state of it on my machine. Feel free to spread the word!

My blog is my code (quick updates)

I should take the time to annouce a bit more often the releases of my various softwares. But software is a mean of expression by itself, in my humble opinion, when practiced everyday. Don't you read software? ... My blog is my code, and this blog is my secondary blog, talking about the first one.

Anyway, please be aware that is progressing well. It isn't still ready for a full-blast communication pushed into professional tubes though. But time will come.

In particular, note the fusion of the Objects and Exoplanets page (which are kinda of object, aren't they?...). It makes the navigation a lot easier. Moreover, Exoplanet Transits have been also added. Pretty nice. Screenshot below, but judge by yourself directly in this example.

 Yes, I usually look for icecream colors for the beta banner... Don't you like this Strawberry-Pistache ?

Yes, I usually look for icecream colors for the beta banner... Don't you like this Strawberry-Pistache ?

Moreover APIs are slowly maturing, and some API endpoints are now in pretty good shape. Obviously that includes /observingsites, /objects and /exoplanets. I am working full-speed on /observingruns and /nightlogs right now. But /datasets is also pretty nice already (although not yet complete).

To follow all the progresses see my third blog... the changelog

In the meantime, I also released a small update of SwiftAA (v2.0.1) to fix some warnings, making sure it is fully compatible with latest Xcode, and applied a small bugfix about the visibility of a special method (that should be kept internal for that matter). Check it out on GitHub!

I am also busy with new adventures for real professional activities this time. But I tend to usually mutualise the benefits, to increase the pace of releases.

Oh by the way, I am preparing a link between and iObserve ! It's time for iObserve's users to submit new observatories and observing sites not in the app but rather in They will further be importable inside the app. It will be great. The benefit is that: it is not manual anymore (which is good for me), but is directly accessible and shared with everybody !

Batch of small updates from the software dpt.

I may not update this blog very often, but things keep moving forward!

First, I've fixed an important bug in SwiftAA, the iOS/macOS framework of astronomical algorithms. There was a confusion on ecliptic coordinates, which was then propagating to other coordinates, and making impossible to have reliable times of Rise, Transit and Set for celestial objects. What a pity if you couldn't compute these times with SwiftAA! It is now fixed. Check the release. Even if it takes time, I keep moving forward to reach the 2.0 milestone.

The other updates are about I made progresses in many compartments: Datasets, Night Logs, Observing Runs, Profiles. Objects page, Publications etc etc. The new root page now has a Google-like search field. For the exoplanets side, I'm working on something very cool, but it isn't ready yet (planned for v0.3).

You can check the changes and the improvements brought by every release in the dedicated Changelog page.

As for iObserve, I keep receiving new observatories. Thanks to all. I may consider an update of iObserve to use observatories in once back from vacations. Better not promise anything though, I know how it goes... 


iObserve night colors on!

Does it sound familiar? I got iObserve night colors drawn on my shiny new night log page of You easily guess what I am heading at! #milestone

Screen Shot 2017-05-06 at 09.50.23.png

Two hours later...

Teasing on Observing Runs...

As announced a few days ago, the Observing Sites page is back online. It is a very basic and functional page for now. There are still a few things in the Javascript Framework I use (Vue.js) I need to explore. In particular: the possibility to edit and add observing sites isn't yet available.

But here is something I am busy with right now: Observing Runs, for which I needed Observing Sites. Looks like a online version of iObserve... 

A very first selection of an observing site inside the Observing Runs dashboard.

I know, I am building again a 3-columns-with-topbar layout... But I think this is clearly the most adapted to a pro app like that. More to come soon! 

Making an auxiliary app about Observing Sites...

Making an auxiliary app about Observing Sites...

... on the road to iObserve 2!  

As you certainly know if you read this blog a bit, here and especially here, I am preparing, slowly, a version 2 of my famous app for astronomers: iObserve. One key thing about it are observatories, over and over again. The problem of managing different places, being able to record your own places, possibly sharing them etc, exists since the inception of the app, when it was only in a widget form... 

In the course of the years, I've developed a lot of things about it and never found it entirely satisfactory. Then came was first intended to be the backend for a much lighter iObserve client. But it appears it can solve a lot of things! And the first thing it can solves is to be the one-place-to-go for everything about observatories in the world. 

Hence, one of the primary mission of is to record, store, share, make available all the information about such places.

And the only way to correctly develop, test, bullet-proof the observing sites at is to build an app, using the arcsecond.swift and SwiftAA sdks. So here it is, for the visible part:

Of course, as soon as it gets ready to edit and display useful things about all observatories, and you can add your own etc, you'll get your hands on it! 



Master plan of the software department @

Master plan of the software department @

Software is amazing, because it let you create your own world. This is the world as I see it in the future. I learned so much by creating iObserve (over the course of the past years...). And as in science, the main lesson was that I didn't know much actually... 

Hence, since I love challenges, I decided to dive into new questions:

  • new language for the app iObserve
  • new architecture for the app
  • own backend service with specific language
  • start cloud service with storage and online DB
  • extract as many macOS components from app into open-source libraries
  • finally implement dreamed features (night logs, observation simulator...)
  • I'm sure something is missing... 

If someone want to share the bumps ahead on the road, he|she is most welcome.

Clear skies to everyone!

P.S. By the way, just migrated to Python3... 

Le silence est d'or...

Le silence est d'or...

Dear iObserve users, not many news over here for some time. iObserve 1.5 is still downloaded quite many times every week (reaching 12.5k total downloads!). I can see that some of you send me new observatories. I'll find some time to create an update of that bunch of new observatories.

Apart from that, I've been able to re-compile and re-run iObserve Touch on an iPad with iOS 9.3. And that's nice, because it wasn't so easy with the amount of code involved here and there. So maybe I could find some time for a little update as well. It reached almost 6k downloads by itself, wow!

On the other side, I'm a bit busy with new stuff. Most of which is the decomposition of iObserve code into little frameworks (for instance: But also scientific ones!

In particular, I am preparing a Swift playground with the best astronomical algorithms in town. The code will be good for developers, for iObserve2, but the Playground could be interesting to teachers! Check it out here the on-going work:

Talking about iObserve 2, I continue to develop things in preparation of it. Among which...! And its SDK (I started with Swift, but javascript will also come soon... <hum, hopefully>). I take the occasion to say that is open-source, and you can contribute!

Interestingly, this all-code activity is a kind of rest for me. At my startup job, I spend the day interacting with tons of new people (and it's really great!). So it's nice to interact with computers a bit. :-) is now open-source is now open-source aims at integrating all sources of astronomical data and information into a unified scheme using modern web techniques.

This is big. Really. If you jump on board, this can be huge!

If you don't see how big it could be, imagine a world where every resource (the word is key) has a unique, simple, stateless URL. Yes. It means every object, every planet, every lightcurve, telegram, FITS file has a simple, unique URL which returns well-formated fully standard JSON/XML output, consumable by modern web techniques (like AngularJS).

It's a kind of a super mega SIMBAD or NED services with modern tools and interfaces. And not limited to any type of data. Allowing you to concentrate on stuff that matter: the data. And not its formatting.

Imagine furthermore that your own personal resources: night log, observing runs, reduced data are accessible the same way, through usual individual and group permissions that you personally control.

Imagine even furthermore that community-curated informations is also accessible that way! This is what has been started with observing sites around the world (see below). Imagine now this list constantly updated, and enhanced by informations about domes and telescopes, and further more... instruments and detectors. All accessible freely, always the same way. A kind of scientific data-based wikipedia!

This would allow us to build a bazillion of new services and (web) apps. This is the future of is intended to full embrace the RESTful principles (that is, the modern way in the web to decouple data from its consumption). I know, there is also the VO. But... Oh well.

News from the development department...

Two months already since I made iObserve free, and a month since I started to work in my new startup. And a month without any code! How bizarre! Sorry guys, but as you may have guessed, I made no progress at all on the iObserve front. In fact, during the last month I had only my 7-years old MacBook Pro. Tough to run Xcode and code confortably with it. Now that I received the latest high-end Retina, things have much improved!

Here is the situation at onekiloparsec's:

  • iObserve 1.5 is still ongoing. Sky maps coming, along with various bugfixes coming, especially that factor 15 for Right Ascensions when entering coordinates manually. I was planning to put in place an update mechanism outside the MacAppStore, but given the time it takes, I'll skip it for now. So expect a regular update in the MAS. I can't make plans for when, but this is definitely on top of the list.
  • I've received a request to support PixInsight XISF in QLFits. That's very interesting, as I didn't know about before. I'll have to check that. Love new stuff.
  • KPCTabsControl has been updated to play better with AutoLayout projects, because of a developer request. Great spirit among developers around the world; open source can be really cool sometimes.
  • SwiftAA is stucked in between version 1.0 and 2.0. I really wish I could finish this soon. This is key for the future, but I am stuck on how I should translate pure C++ style / syntax in the most useful / modern Swift style and syntax. Life can be hard sometimes. ;-)
  • Because of SwiftAA is stuck, so is iObserve 2 too... But anyway, this new app depends on the development of And I am wondering I could write things in Swift. Probably not on the server side (even if it is possible right now).

But you know what? I've been thinking a lot about lately. I regularly receive emails from the backend about this or this not working well (for instance, duplicate Observatories, yes, I look at you, Crete). I am all aware of it! And I need to do something about it, definitely. Enough said for now. More on that later.

Most welcome to send comments and feedbacks if you can help or discuss. Stay tuned, as always.

The story of 6 years of development of iObserve

The story of 6 years of development of iObserve

6 years. What a journey!

Short story: Because I am taking the head of software developments in a newly-created french VR startup, my energy will be focused on that for the coming years. The development at will necessarily change to a much slower pace.  Nonetheless, I will release iObserve 1.5 and keep supporting everything, including, as much as time and energy is left. Moreover, I am happy to announce that iObserve is now entirely free. Read on to learn why, for the history of very special app, and the role it has in the life of its developer, with all the details, decisions, downloads, graphics, sales numbers and more! stands on its two feet: 'api' and 'www' stands on its two feet: 'api' and 'www'

Finally, after the last two or three weeks struggling with host names redirections, and my first steps with Google's AngularJS framework, I happy to present the two faces of One side for "API": a pure modern, easy to use, integrated RESTful data-access. And one side 'www' where I am building a webapp for the users will be able to amazing things  ... but shhht, this is secret for now. But our ambition is high! 

Telescopes coming soon in

I've been busy with tons of things, but I'm back now on tracks for developing Telescopes are being prepared now, and as soon as possible, I'll make sure data is more complete in all compartments. 

Introducing Data Archives @

This stuff is probably infinite. How exciting! The scope of is expanding. And I have additional ideas for the future... In the meantime, here comes basic support for Data Archives: ESO's, MAST etc. I had a quick connector already written for ESO programmes summary, hence that's the only thing available for now. For instance:

But more will come! I am already working on the access to data sets (hopefully, with some local meteo data...), in a completely integrated manner, with access to objects, observatories etc.