Do you want to know how far Tau Ceti is from Alpha Centauri?
Or how many stars are there within 10 light years of the Sun?
Then this program is for you.
GNU SpaceChart is a program that allows you to see the stars in glorious 3D and rotate them to see them from any point of view. You can also limit which stars you want to see, according to their spectral class and luminosity, and draw links between all stars closer than a certain distance.
GNU SpaceChart works under the GNOME environment. Provided GNOME is present, it's known to work on GNU/Linux, FreeBSD and Solaris 8. If you get it running on other systems, please tell me.
(2002-12-09) Larger Hipparcos data sets are available. You can download from SourceForge two extra data files for GNU SpaceChart. The files are:
To use the files, just run bunzip2 on them and copy them to your data directory (usually /usr/local/share/spacechart/).
(2002-12-06) GNU SpaceChart 0.9.5 Released! While I the last official atuthorization has not arrived, I've been unofficial assured that there is no problem with my publishing the catalogue data. As I already have official permission from the people with the clearest rights over the data (it's authors), I've decided to go ahead with the release. You can see the details of this story in the file data/COPYING.
Anyway, the new release is here with quite a few new features. Now you can save your configuration automatically, so you can find that great position and save it without bothering to edit the config file.
For people who want to stay true to the scientific nomenclature, GNU SpaceChart now uses Right Ascension instead of Longitude. Also, you can browse a list of all the stars in the currently loaded catalogue and center the map on any of them.
But one of the most important new features in the new release is the new data file. It's been build using the astrometric data from the Hipparcos Mission, complemented with data about multiple stars from the CCDM. While the default data file included with SpaceChart covers only stars within 30 parsecs of the Sun, I'll upload some larger files to the sourceforge project page.
I hope you enjoy GNU SpaceChart!
(2002-11-20) Whatever you've heard, no I'm not dead :-) Nor is SpaceChart, by the way. The new release has been ready in CVS for some time now (the last important change happened back in July), and only been held by legal problems with catalogues.
It turns out that, at least in Europe, astronomical catalogues are protected by IP laws (particularly the EU database directive). This has led me into a long exchange of emails with the authors and owners of the data I wanted to use.
At the moment I'm waiting for what hopefully will be the last authorization needed. As soon as I have that, I'll make the release. At this rate, it may yet happen on the first days of December, for the third year in a row :-)
The good thing about these legal problems is that I've been forced to move to the Hipparcos data (the problem with the Gliese data is that nobody really knows who is the owner, so there is noone to ask for permission to use it). So, at the expense of some resolution in the close proximity of the Sun (mostly red dwarfs), we'll have data files that reach all the way to the Hyades!
I'll be uploading the scripts for generating these data files to CVS over the next few days (as I polish them a bit), and will upload the files themselves when I get the official permission.
So, I assure you that the wait will be worth it :-)
The most important new feature in this release is configuration files, which can be read by the program at startup, and in which you can define most of the program parameters. Also, most actions now have keyboards equivalents (customizable via config files). Several bugs were fixed (and probably countless new ones were introduced), and a few minor features were added. For more details check the NEWS and README files.
Also, another version of the data_gliese package has been released, since data files from previous versions are incompatible with 0.9.3.
SpaceChart's SourceForge CVS repository can be checked out through anonymous (pserver) CVS with the following instruction set. The module you wish to check out must be specified as the modulename (currently there are two modules available: spacechart and gliese2spacechart). When prompted for a password for anonymous, simply press the Enter key.
cvs -d:pserver:firstname.lastname@example.org:/cvsroot/spacechart login
cvs -z3 -d:pserver:email@example.com:/cvsroot/spacechart co modulename
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Copyright (C) 2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111, USA
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Updated: $Date: 2002/12/09 11:33:50 $ $Author: mcoca $