Cartes Du Ciel

Very small Sky Map window showing M45 and Sky2000 field stars

Patrick Chevalley wrote the Cartes Du Ciel star chart software for Windows some years ago and I missed this useful software when I went over to Mac OS X. Now there is a Linux build available in binary as a .deb and an .rpm package. The source code is, of course, available but Patrick uses the Lazarus Pascal compiler so building the program from source may be problematic!

Installation on Xubuntu with OpenOffice and Inkscape installed along with the multimedia libraries went as follows

  • Universe repositories must be available in your sources.list file
  • Download the .deb file from the SourceForge download page
  • Install (sudo aptitude install libgdk-pixbuf2) the libgdk-pixbuf2 library first
  • Then install the .deb package using the command line
sudo dpkg --install skychart_3.0.1.2-1_i386.deb

You can also download extra star catalogues from the SourceForge page as ZIP files, just

  • Unzip each catalogue (you can use Archive Manager or a command line command)
  • You will find a folder with the data files and a text file
  • Move or copy both the folder and the text file to /usr/share/apps/skychart/cat
  • The catalogue will appear in the Setup | Catalog | Stars dialog box in the SkyChart program.

This version is a beta release; I had a few ‘divide by zero’ errors when scrolling, centring and zooming objects through large factors. Apart from that the program feels solid and responds quickly. Image export is limited to JPG but I can print to PDF from the File | Print option using other software.

Some other astronomical resources include…

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