Inspiration

For as long as humanity has gazed up at the stars, there have been astronomers studying the heavens in order to uncover the mysteries of the luminous lights. However, in this fast-paced world, it is too often that we miss more fleeting moments, such as a meteor fading into the night sky. Understanding the disappointment of only hearing about the events after they faded away, we decided to create a system that can keep people informed on upcoming meteorological events, which are often once in a lifetime sights.

What it does

Our website strives to inform the user of upcoming events, updating as each event passes or as our sources add new data. In these events, we include information as to when they will occur, their name, and descriptions. Along with the informative side of our website, we also have a texting notification system that will send the user a text when an event is five days away.

How we built it

Concerning the visual areas of our websites, we used CSS and HTML web design to create the website from scratch. These tools served to create the intuitive interface of our website that emphasizes it’s clear and clean aspects. In addition to this, our javascript side of our website controls the formatting and displaying of the data, provided by our python program. This python code will parse through data and compile it onto the website’s content page. 

Challenges we ran into

In the beginning, during the conceptualization phase, we had to scrap several different ideas due to different factors. For example, in the case of a service that would sort Ebay products by best deals with an algorithm scaling trustworthiness, and displaying product rating and price, we did not account for the fact that the API key would require a business day process. After deciding on creating an astronomy website, the first roadblock we encountered was that there were very few APIs available for meteorological events, and even fewer that were both free and viable within the time constraints to access. This led us to pivoting towards using other databases. Another roadblock we encountered in the technical side was getting the mailing system to work. As all the syntax appeared to be in place, it was later revealed that the system struggled to contact some devices. By switching systems, we were able to get our “mailing” system in place - using text messaging instead.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Regarding accomplishments, our front end development of the website made for a clean user interface and aesthetic design that gave it a unique touch that would have otherwise been impossible to achieve. Additionally, we successfully created a system that organizes the information for the user, presenting the events most proximal to the current date. One other accomplishment we were especially proud of was completing the mailing system that would notify users of upcoming astrological events. This pride stemming from its status of having the greatest utility out of the other features of our site, and also its difficulty. Another accomplishment we were especially proud of was getting the background images to change each time that the user scrolled down to a new meteorological event. As one of the most unique factors of our website, it adds a nice personal touch to it.

What we learned

Without a doubt, the greatest thing that we will take from this experience is the experience itself especially since this was our first hackathon. As we discovered our strengths and weaknesses, a structure evolved from a messy, directionless energy to clear and direct pathway. One thing we found out along the way is that there is an exigency to plan out ways to avoid possible bottlenecks in workflow beforehand, increasing efficiency and team cohesiveness. Another thing we took away from the experience is that we should expect there to be delays, whether this be in receiving keys for certain databases or unexpected slowdowns while coding. As a result, in the future we will give ourselves a time buffer to makeup for any unexpected issues. 

What's next for Star Seeker

As we continue to develop Star Seeker, we would expand the number of meteorological events displayed and propagated through our mailing system. In addition, we will expand the amount of users that the mailing system could support.
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