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Found In Space (On Flickr) 48

Jamie stumbled upon a writeup for all you astronomy and photography buffs out there (Perhaps my Dad or Uncle Jim are reading ;). From the writeup "The 'blind astrometry server' is a program which monitors the Astrometry group on Flickr, looking for new photos of the night sky. It then analyzes each photo, and from the unique star positions shown it figures out what part of the sky was photographed and what interesting planets, galaxies or nebulae are contained within. Not only does the photographer get a high-quality description of what's in their photo, but the main project gets a new image to add to its storehouse of knowledge." Check out the site for many cool pictures.
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Found In Space (On Flickr)

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  • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) * on Thursday February 19, 2009 @07:16PM (#26923371) Homepage Journal

    I use them all the time; just shot comet Lulin [], they did a great job of exact location:

  • Awesome (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mc1138 ( 718275 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @07:31PM (#26923485) Homepage
    Seriously, this is a really cool use of technology at work, keeping the spread of information flowing. I wonder if they'll be able to figure out where I live though...
  • by jamie ( 78724 ) * Works for Slashdot <> on Thursday February 19, 2009 @07:46PM (#26923583) Journal

    There's a PDF link buried in the interview [] which had me giggling with geekish delight. The phrase

    "hash codes" for locations on the sky

    makes me happy.

    Also, I'll give credit to [] which is where I read this first.

  • by kramer2718 ( 598033 ) on Thursday February 19, 2009 @07:49PM (#26923603) Homepage

    If it is done in polynomial time, then it would by definition be in P which means it would NOT be NP complete unless P=NP.

    I think you are trying to ask how it could be done in less than exponential time (which is how fast the fastest algorithms to solve NP complete problems run).

    I personally would expect an algorithm to perform the match would run in O(U*US+K*KS+UI*KI*U) where U=the number of unknown (ie flickr pictures), K=the number of known pictures, US=the average size of an unknown picture, K=the size of the average known picture, UI=the number of interesting things in an unknown picture and KI=the number of interesting things in a known picture. However, it would often run faster because it should be fairly easy to disqualify two pictures as containing any of the same interesting features.

  • by plover ( 150551 ) * on Thursday February 19, 2009 @08:26PM (#26923899) Homepage Journal

    It's similar to Photosynth in that it finds the stars in the sky, but it only provides location information. It does not provide links (you can't navigate from photo to photo the way you can in photosynth.) Not to say they couldn't add that functionality later.

    I think of this more like a real-life version of the "Astrogator" role on the space ships from old sci-fi stories, where they arrive at some spot deep in space, the astrogator looks around at the stars and determines exactly where they are.

  • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Friday February 20, 2009 @12:20AM (#26925393) Homepage

    I remember the first time that, just using a consumer-grade, non-DSLR camera (a Sony DSC-H2), I was able to image the Galilean moons. Blew me away. At first I thought I must have just captured bright background stars that just happened to be near Jupiter in the same plane, but I went back home and set my time and location in Celestia, it was a perfect match. I took more shots later and was able to see them changing positions around Jupiter appropriately.

    It's amazing what you can do without any special equipment these days.

  • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) * on Friday February 20, 2009 @03:41AM (#26926247) Homepage Journal

    As far as I'm concerned with the current crop of DSLRs, we've entered a pretty darned fabulous era of shooting at night in general and the night sky in particular. It's getting to the point where they're trying to squish just the faintest remaining noise in the row/column amps and leakage from the sensels. It's already in the blinking amazing zone, but Canon seems to think they've got another full stop of noise reduction up their sleeve; all the online tech folk are doubtful, but me, I'll wait on the engineers, and will be ready to pony up for any such performance gain in the APS-C size sensors. Could already get it in an FF sensor, but Canon's not built the right balance of features to lure me there. Yet. :)

  • Use a different font. Slashdot makes available the <tt> tag which works nicely - emoticons often look better in monospace text anyway. I suppose that's probably subjective though; I grew up with monospace text, if you didn't you probably feel the other way. I think we can all agree that people who use the tag and the enter key to format their text as if they were old school are extremely fucking annoying, though.

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay