update on AstroOverlay and other stuff

Recently we did cleanup and performance optimization on out new Astronomical Image Overlay interface. It is ready now for significant traffic hits.

By the way, about traffic: Last Friday our servers have been flooded by “bored visitors” ;) , I mean visitors from www.i-am-bored.com web site. I must admit – there is a lot of “bored” surfers on the Net. Our traffic more than doubled. It was a good and pretty successful test for our latest build with a lot of effort put toward performance optimization and stability increase.

Another good news – we’ve got faster internet connections on two of our servers – sky3 and sky7. We use these servers to handle mostly “heavy” on CPU tasks and the only servers that allowed to produce extralarge snapshots (16+ megapixels)

WikiSky – web site of the week on Voice of America

WikiSky was chosen as web site of the week by Voice of America. Here’s the link on article and audio podcast:

short demo on how does astro-overlay link works

The short video below demonstrates how you can enrich any online astronomical image with WikiSky’s AstroOverlay features right in your browser just by using javascript link described in previous post

Astro-Overlay demo

New interface introduction – Astronomical Image Overlay

The SKY-MAP team is happy to introduce new interface we are working on right now called Astronomical Image Overlay. It allows (by adding single line of code to a page that show one or more astronomical images) to add new cool layer of other images overlapping same patch of the sky (drag mouse over the image below and you will notice the line of other images that you can zoom by moving mouse over):

Galaxy Wars: M81 versus M82; Credit & Copyright: Leonardo Orazi; Source: APOD

If you want to add this interface to your page, simply add this line of code at the end of your html file, before </body> tag:

<script type='text/javascript' src='http://sky-map.org/js/astroOverlay'></script>

Moreover, you can simply add this interface right in your browser to any page you are visiting by simply putting following code in browser’s location (URL) following by <Enter>:


or put that line in your browser’s bookmarks toolbar, and by clicking on it current page you are visiting will be enriched with the AstroOverlay interface (currently doesn’t work in Internet Explorer). The interface is new and we are still working on fixing bugs and user experience improvements. Feel free to give it a try and let us know what’s your experience with this new feature.

It’s that time of the year

Donate to Wikipedia

Donate to Wikipedia

Yes, it’s that time of the year when you can show your appreciation to the Wikipedia. Many of us using Wikipedia on daily basis as source of information on almost any subject in the World. WikiSky’s team is active contributor of Astronomy section in Wikipedia. Many astronomical object articles in Wikipedia are illustrated with images produced by WikiSky. So, if you like Wikipedia, if you find it as useful tool for your researches or simple curiosities, if you are in favour of collaborative knowledge base on Internet, please consider to make some donation to keep Wikipedia’s servers up and running.

Sky-Map.org (WikiSky) on BBC

Sky-Map.org (WikiSky) was featured on BBC’s Webscape TV programme over last weekends. Thousands of new visitors, mostly from England, put quite a load on our servers.

Hubble’s New View of Star Birth in M83, the Southern Pinwheel

The spectacular new camera installed on NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope during Servicing Mission 4 in May has delivered the most detailed view of star birth in the graceful, curving arms of the nearby spiral galaxy M83.

Nicknamed the Southern Pinwheel, M83 is undergoing more rapid star formation than our own Milky Way galaxy, especially in its nucleus. The sharp “eye” of the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) has captured hundreds of young star clusters, ancient swarms of globular star clusters, and hundreds of thousands of individual stars, mostly blue supergiants and red supergiants.

The image, taken in August 2009, provides a close-up view of the myriad stars near the galaxy’s core, the bright whitish region at far right.

WFC3′s broad wavelength range, from ultraviolet to near-infrared, reveals stars at different stages of evolution, allowing astronomers to dissect the galaxy’s star-formation history.

M83, located in the Southern Hemisphere, is often compared to M51, dubbed the Whirlpool galaxy, in the Northern Hemisphere. Located 15 million light-years away in the constellation Hydra, M83 is two times closer to Earth than M51.

Source: Hubble Site


Last night we put new build on all our online servers. It includes mostly bug fixes and performance optimizations. There was significant change in JavaScript packaging. We tested all the changes, but our QA team abilities are quite limited. So please let us know if you find any bugs. Thanks.

Version 2 Window API

I mentioned already about SkyWindow API. Here’s a newer version.
SkyWindow2 API:

Below is the html code that does the trick:

<script type='text/javascript'
<div style='position:relative;left:0px;top:0px;width:450px;height:450px'>
<DIV id='mySkyWnd'
  style='position:absolute;left:0;top:0;width:450px;height:450px;overflow:hidden;border:1px solid gray'
<script type="text/javascript">
var options = {ra:12.4283, de:12.81, initZoom:6, zoom:6,
  survey:"", imgSource:"DSS2", allowTopPanel:true, showTopPanel:true, showRightPanel:false,
  allowMove:true, allowZoom:true,
  showPanZoomControl:true, panZoomControlLeft:6, panZoomControlTop:10,
  showScale:true, showStatus:false, showPosition:true, showStickers:true, showLabels:true,
  showGrid:true, showOverlayGrid:false,
  showConstLines:true, showOverlayConstLines:false,
  showConstBoundaries:true, showOverlayConstBoundaries:false,
  showConstNames:false, showOverlayConstNames:false,
  showGalaxies:true, showOverlayGalaxies:false,
  showStars:true, showOverlayStars:false,
  buffer:1, moveTime:2000, smoothMoveAccelerationTime:500,
  scaleMaxLen:90, scaleHeight:6, scaleColor:"lightgray", scaleLineWidth:1
new SkyWindow2(options).attach($('mySkyWnd'));

One important detail: If you want to show object info labels while moving mouse over the map. You need to add simple proxy script on your server to redirect AJAX calls to WikiSky servers. The reason is that browser’s JavaScript security policy does not allow to make AJAX call to any server except the one current page loaded from.

Here’s an example of simple php code:

$client = new HttpClient("server1.sky-map.org");
   $client->post('/'.$u, file_get_contents("php://input"));
} else {
$contentType = $client->getHeader("Content-Type");
$pageContents = $client->getContent();
header('Content-type: '.$contentType);
echo $pageContents;

SPAM update

Ok, we finished recovering from massive spam attack on our forum (see previous posts). The forum is back on-line now. It is possible we accidentally killed few of your good posts. Sorry about that, there was quite a lot of junk to sort out.