More on the Three-D Starscape

In my previous post I promised to share my modification of ChView2 given permission from the original authors Joseph Jaquinta and Ben Lin. I have that permission, so here it is. Let me know if that link fails. I’ve never done anything serious with Google Sites, but I needed some way to get that up in spite of WordPress’s refusal to support jars. I’ve tested it a bit from my own computer and it seems to work, but I’m the owner of the site, so… Who knows?

If the link does work, then, as soon as the file finishes downloading, you should be able to double-click on the jar to bring up the program. In my previous post, I described how to create a sort of 3d compass rose in chView 2. Those instructions should still work just fine, although as you can see the program has gone through some alterations.

The slider bar for controlling the screen orientation.

The slider bar for controlling the screen orientation.

The most immediately apparent change is in the orientation controls. I got rid of a button, added some text entry fields and, hopefully made the interface a bit more useable. At least for me. The zero button is a bit of a lie. It does set the rotation around the Z and X axes to zero but it sets the rotation around the Y axis to 180 degrees. The rationale between that set of rotations is that the positive Y-axis will be toward the top of the screen, the positive X-axis will be to the right and the Z-axis will point out of the screen, a familiar orientation. This is apparent if you saved a copy of the compass rose from last post(I actually have a saved file for the compass rose, here). Using the text entry fields you can set the rotations to one-degree precision. Once you set the fields to the desired rotation, hit the “Set” button and the screen will change to that orientation.

The Route Finder is a work in progress, but I have added a textual list of stars visited to the the output. I’m proud of that one…!

The Route Finder in action!

The Route Finder in action!


Local space. Right at the edge of usefulness...

Local space. Right at the edge of usefulness…

Although I’m very proud of the small modifications I’ve made to the interface of this excellent program, they were only possible because of the excellent foundation that Mr Jaquinta and Mr Lin have laid. I only point them out here because I have grown somewhat dependent on those small modifications. I hope that they will, in some small way, enhance the usefulness of this marvelous program. I also hope that as my skills grow I will be able to make greater enhancements to the program.

Just to give you something to play with, I ran Extended Hipparcos and RECONS data taken from Constantine Thomas’s Stellar Mapping page through Excel to create a file of the stars within fifty light years of Sol(here).

Now go make star maps!
The Astrographer


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1 Response to More on the Three-D Starscape

  1. jjaquinta says:

    Good work. Downloads and runs fine for me.
    I see you left in the experimental File -> Import from Web feature. That can save you the messiness of having to convert file formats. It pulls from SIMBAD ( kind of a clearing house for all the different astronomical data. Plus it statistically inferrs stars. The bulk of stars out there are spectra-M types, and we really only can see a few of those right around earth. So for most stellar catalogs the density drops off rapidly as you get out of the stellar neighborhood. This keeps the distribution even. Handy for a role playing setting or something like that. I should probably put in a check-mark for purists so they can choose not to import inferred stars.

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