StarPlot is a program for Unix that allows you to view charts of the relative 3-dimensional positions of stars in space.
It is free software; the source code for StarPlot is available under the GNU General Public License. Here is a screenshot (click for a larger image).
Here are some key features of "StarPlot":
· Stars can be right-clicked to display a data popup window.
· Stars can be displayed or hidden by spectral class and absolute magnitude (also shown above).
· Stellar absolute magnitude limits can be set automatically based on the radius of the chart.
· Non-stellar objects such as nebulae are also supported.
· The stars being viewed may be plotted on a Hertzsprung-Russell diagram.
· Charts may be viewed in either celestial or galactic coordinate systems.
· Charts may be recentered, rotated, or zoomed in or out with a mouse click (this can also, of course, be done via dialog boxes for more precision).
· Current chart parameters may be saved to a file and reloaded later.
· The data file format is easy to read, well-documented, and text based.
· StarPlot is packaged with a program (starconvert) that converts line-oriented stellar data records to StarPlot format. Several well-known star catalogues are available from this website, complete with all the data needed for conversions.
The latest version of StarPlot is 0.95.2; it is based on the GTK+ graphics library, version 2.x. You will need that and a recent C++ compiler, preferably g++ 2.95.x or higher, to compile the program. (If you only have GTK+ 1.2, you can still compile StarPlot version 0.93.1.) In theory StarPlot should compile on any Unix platform with GTK+ 2 and g++ installed. As of version 0.94 StarPlot has an autoconf-generated configure script; this should make compilation straightforward via the usual procedure:
./configure && make && make install
· The program does not redraw its display while scanning data files. Patches to make it (reliably) multi-threaded are welcome.
· When more than one data file is opened at a time, StarPlot does not check for duplicated stars.
· I have reports of a bus error on Mac OS X. This seems to come about as a result of using unstable versions of freetype2; if you experience the problem it ought to be fixable by installing freetype2 version 2.0.9. I'll investigate more thoroughly when I have a chance.
What's New in This Release:
· StarPlot now permits the use of parsecs instead of light-years as the primary distance unit, and also can show distances in astronomical units and miles or kilometers at close range.
· A new button permits the chart to be set to the orientation of a volume of space as seen from Earth.
· A new dialog box makes it easy to calculate the distance between two arbitrary points in space.
· More documentation has been written.
· Some bugs preventing compilation with modern g++ versions have also been fixed.