There's a space age coming, so why not get people excited about it in advance?

What it does

Pocket Observatory is, literally, an observatory on your phone. It calculates the position of the planets in real time - not predetermined. It provides information about the planet, and will let you know which planets are visible to you personally, taking into account where you are, what time of day it is, and where the Earth is. It can even tell you the compass direction & elevation where a particular planet should be!

How we built it

Pocket Observatory is a mobile app connecting to a server. The mobile app portion of it is written in React Native, on the Expo platform. It connects to a server through a ASP.NET program, written in C#. The server routes queries into a .dll that handles all the tracking.

Challenges we ran into

The main challenges were getting the frontend and backend to communicate. None of us have ever done this sort of work before, so it was a real rush to figure out what needed to be done, how to do it, and how to get it done in the time we had left.

The frontend team ran into lots of problems with both Expo and Android Studio, mainly with the difficulty in getting the platforms to work, which resulted in the development being dragged down.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Creating a mobile app with a server backend like this is an accomplishment for us on its own, especially in such a time frame. Other components of the program, such as the algorithm that calculates where all the planets are from fairly vague data, are also impressive for us.

What we learned

Under pressure we learnt how to create and manage server applications for the backend, designing the UI for a mobile app, and converting those UI design prototypes into real code for a real phone.

What's next for Pocket Observatory

We plan to continue working on Pocket Observatory over the coming weeks and develop it into the final product that we envisioned it to be, including more celestial bodies, more features, and an improved scanner mode.

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