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Terminal program for amateur astronomers with weather forcast


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Terminal program for amateur astronomers with weather forecast.

Install by cloning this repo and putting astropanel.rb into your "bin" directory. Or you can simply run gem install astropanel.


This program gives you essential data to plan your observations:

  • Weather forecast for the next 9 days with coloring (red/yellow/green) based on your limits for cloud cover, humidity, temperature and wind
  • Graphic representation of when the Sun, Moon and planets are visible with the Moon's phase showing in how light the representing bar is
  • Extra information for each day: Fog, wind gust speed, dew point temperature, air pressure, UV Index, Sun and Moon precise rise and set and Moon phase. The Moon phase is expressed as a number between 0 and 100 where 50 is the full moon.
  • Astronomical events for each of the 9 days, with option to list them in one view
  • Star chart showing in the terminal for the selected day and time of day PS: The star chart is only generated for latitudes above +23
  • A table showing RA, Dec, distance, rise, set and transit for the planets
  • Show today's Astronomy Picture Of the Day

Condition rules

The rules to calculate whether the condition is green, yellow or red are:

  • The limits you set will determine the "negative points" given
  • With 4 or more negative points, the condition becomes red
  • With 2 or 3 negative points, the condition is yellow
  • Less than two negative points makes the condition green
  • A negative point is given if the cloud coverage exceeds your cloud limit
  • Another negative point is given if the cloud coverage is more than (100 - cloud limit)/2
  • Another negative point is given if the cloud coverage is above 90%
  • A negative point is given if the humidity exceeds your humidity limit
  • A negative point is given if the air temperature is below your temperature limit
  • Another negative point is given if the temperature is below your temperature limit - 7°C
  • A negative point is given if the wind exceeds your wind limit
  • Another negative point is given if the wind exceeds twice your wind limit


You need to have Ruby installed to use Astropanel. You also need to install the latest Ruby Curses library via gem install curses.

Then there are two basic prerequisites needed: x11-utils and xdotool.

To have the star chart displayed, you need to have imagemagick and w3m-img installed.

To get all prerequisites installed on Ubuntu: apt-get install ruby-full git libncurses-dev x11-utils xdotool imagemagick w3m-img

And on Arch: pacman -S ruby git xorg-xwininfo xdotool imagemagick w3m-img

Also, images like the star chart and APOD is only reliably tested on the URXVT terminal emulator.

Launching Astropanel

The first time you launch Astropanel (make astropanel.rb executable; chmod +x astropanel.rb and run it), it will ask for your location, Latitude and Longitude.

When you start the program, it will show you the list of forecast points for today and the next 9 days (from The first couple of days are detailed down to each hour, while the rest of the days have 4 forecast points (hours 00, 06, 12 and 18). Time is for your local time zone.

When inside the program, you can set the various limits as you see fit.


Just press "?" to get the help for each possible key binding:

 ? = Show this help text       ENTER = Refresh starchart/image
 l = Edit Location                 r = Refresh all data
 a = Edit Latitude                 s = Get starchart for selected time
 o = Edit Longitude                S = Open starchart in image program
 c = Edit Cloud limit              A = Show Astronomy Picture Of the Day
 h = Edit Humidity limit           e = Show upcoming events
 t = Edit Temperature limit        W = Write to config file       
 w = Edit Wind limit               q = Quit (write to config file)
 b = Edit Bortle value             Q = Quit (no config write)     

These should be self explanatory. Until I can figure out how to automatically fetch a location's Bortle value (light pollution), this is entered manually.

Quitting the program and saving configuration

Location values you change in the program are written to the config file when you quit via "q". Use "Q" to quit without writing the values (if you want to see the forecast for different locations and not overwrite your preferred location data). Use 'W' to write new limit values to the config file.

In Termux for Android or environments where images can't be shown in a terminal, set this in the config file (.ap.conf): @noimage = true


Click on this screenshot to see a screencast that will give you a sense of how this application works:

Astropanel screencast


Terminal program for amateur astronomers with weather forcast







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