Finding the Sun (in the source code)

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    The issue of wrapping a 2D image around a 3D sphere seems to have been resolved by Chase and his photo shopping skills. So today we moved onto a bigger task.

To kick off the day, I reviewed some Java with the ever useful CodingBat warm ups. Then, I dove into JavaScript tutorials and learned a few things, including the differences between Java and JavaScript, how it relates to HTML, as well as the basics of coding in JavaScript.

After Lunch with the other interns, Rory and I began to take our first steps towards getting involved in the DSE project. Zach sent us the source code for the current DSE ProtoType, and we familiarized ourselves with the design. After understanding how the code retrieves images from the NASA Solar Dynamic Observatory gallery, we tried to look for patterns in the date stamps/file names of the pictures of the sun under various films. There is a mysterious six digit sequence that is part of every image url from the SDO gallery, and it seems to have some sort of correlation with date at which the images were taken; however, we were not able to identify any noticeable patterns. Without any pattern or correlation, it will be very difficult for the program to generate the correct image URLs and retrieve them. This is why the current DSE ProtoType has lots of blank images. We did notice, though, that certain six digit sequences seemed to reoccur frequently in the image URLs, which may give us a way of successfully retrieving a much greater number of images. With some sort of extensive if-else ladder, we could make the program look for certain six digit sequences while populating the ArrayList of URLs.

Zach has been trying fix the issue of the blank images by making the program detect when an image cannot be found (400/404 Error), and then skipping over those images when rotating the sun. It is difficult because of how the program operates. When the code populates the ArrayList of URLs, it has no way of checking to see if each URL actually links to an image until after the program is run. We have to figure out a way to make the program check the state of each URL before it is added to the ArrayList, but I’m not entirely certain how the code operates, so I am not quite sure about how to approach this issue.

Until i understand more about how JavaScript works, I won’t truly understand how the code operates. Looks like there will be more JavaScript lessons for me tomorrow!

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