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Collection of Python scripts to make beautiful deepsky finder charts in various formats

Project description


* Execute the script and read the help:
$ python install --help
Once confident with the options, execute:
$ python install

* Make sure that the fchart module library resides in a directory
that is in your PYTHONPATH. The default settings ensure this.


* Get the Tycho2 star catalog from:

* Unzip all the .dat.gz files

* Concatenate the 'tyc2.dat.??' files using, e.g.
$ cat tyc2.dat.?? >tyc2.dat

* Execute the script:
$ python tyc2_to_binary <TYCHO_DIR> <TARGET_DIR>
if TARGET_DIR is not specified, it will be the ..../fchart/catalogs


$ fchart m45
$ ls

and see what happened

* If there are complaints that certain python modules cannot be found,
make shure that the directory containing, are
in your PYTHONPATH environment variable.

$ man `echo $SHELL | sed -e"s/.*\/\(.*\)/\1/g"`
if you do not know how to set environment variables.

* fchart --help dumps a short manual to your screen.

That's all. You can view the output using ghostview, gv, or whatever
postscript viewer you prefer. There is also PDF output (-O pdf)


*The* manual:

Usage: fchart [options] sourcename1 sourcename2 ...

Output filenames are "sourcename1.eps", "sourcename2.eps", etcetera.

-h, --help print help

-d, --deep-sky deepsky limiting magnitude (default: 12.5)

-s, --stars stellar limiting magnitude (default: 13.8)

-p, --paper-width width of the map in mm (default: 180.0)

-f, --field-size diameter of the field of view in degrees
(default: 7.0)

-m, --force-messier select all Messier objects, regardless of the
limiting magnitude for deepsky objects

-o, --output-dir specify the output directory (default: .)

-O, --output-type specify output fileformat. Either EPS or
PDF. On posix systems this defaults to
EPS. On other systems the default is PDF. EPS
output is generally a lot compacter in
filesize than (even compressed) pdf output
because PDF does not have a native 'circle'
command (and circles we draw...). For rich
fields, it takes considerably more time to
generate PDF output than to generate EPS
output, due to compression of the PDF streams.

-l, --language specify language on the maps, either 'en' or 'nl'
(default: en)

-a, --force-asterisms force plotting of asterisms in map. By default, only
"Messier" asterisms are plotted. All others are
ignored. The default setting helps cleaning up
especially Virgo cluster maps.

-u, --force-pg by default, objects in external galaxies are only
plotted if their magnitude is known and lower than
the limiting magnitude of deepsky objects. If this
option is given, also objects in external galaxies
of which the magnitude is not known are plotted. This
option will clutter some galaxies like M 101 and
NGC 4559.

-x, --add-cross add a cross in the map at a specified position. The
format of the argument of this option is:
For example: -x"20:35:25.4,+60:07:17.7,SN,t" for
the supernova sn2004et in NGC 6946. The label position
can be 't' for top, 'b' for bottom, 'l' for left, or
'r' for right. The label and label position may be

Valid sourcenames are for example:
- NGC891, NgC891, n891 or 891 for NGC objects
- IC1396, i1396, iC1396, I1396 for IC objects
- m110, M3 for Messier objects

There is one special sourcename, which is "allmessier". When this name
is encountered, fchart dumps maps of all messier objects to the output
Catalogs included: saguaro astronomy club v.7.2 and revised NGC/IC project

Preferred names:

All catalogs:
Abell - George Abell (planetary nebulae and galaxy clusters)
ADS - Aitken Double Star catalog
AM - Arp-Madore (globular clusters)
Antalova - (open clusters)
Ap - Apriamasvili (planetary nebulae)
Arp - Halton Arp (interacting galaxies)
Bark - Barkhatova (open clusters)
B - Barnard (dark nebulae)
Basel - (open clusters)
BD - Bonner Durchmusterung (stars)
Berk - Berkeley (open clusters)
Be - Bernes (dark nebulae)
Biur - Biurakan (open clusters)
Blanco - (open clusters)
Bochum - (open clusters)
Ced - Cederblad (bright nebulae)
Cr - Collinder (open clusters)
Czernik - (open clusters)
DDO - David Dunlap Observatory (dwarf galaxies)
Do - Dolidze (open clusters)
DoDz - Dolidze-Dzimselejsvili (open clusters)
Dun - Dunlop (globular clusters)
Fein - Feinstein (open clusters)
Frolov - (open clusters)
Gum - (bright nebulae)
H - William Herschel (globular clusters)
Haffner - (open clusters)
Harvard - (open clusters)
He - Henize (planetary nebulae)
Hogg - (open clusters)
HP - Haute Provence (globular clusters)
Hu - Humason (planetary nebulae)
IC - 1st and 2nd Index Catalogs to the NGC
(All types of objects except dark nebulae)
Isk - Iskudarian (open clusters)
J - Jonckheere (planetary nebulae)
K - Kohoutek (planetary nebulae)
King - (open clusters)
Kr - Krasnogorskaja (planetary nebulae)
Lac - Lacaille (globular clusters)
Loden - (open clusters)
LDN - Lynds (dark nebulae)
Lynga - (open clusters)
M - Messier (all types of objects except dark nebula)
MCG - Morphological Catalog of Galaxies
Me - Merrill (plantary nebulae)
Mrk - Markarian (open clusters and galaxies)
Mel - Melotte (open clusters)
M1 thru M4 - Minkowski (planetary nebulae)
NGC - New General Catalog of Nebulae & Clusters of Stars.
(All types of objects except dark nebulae)
Pal - Palomar (globular clusters)
PC - Peimbert and Costero (planetary nebulae)
Pismis - (open clusters)
PK - Perek & Kohoutek (planetary nebulae)
RCW - Rodgers, Campbell, & Whiteoak (bright nebulae)
Roslund - (open clusters)
Ru - Ruprecht (open clusters)
Sa - Sandqvist (dark nebulae)
Sher - (open clusters)
Sh - Sharpless (bright nebulae)
SL - Sandqvist & Lindroos (dark nebulae)
SL - Shapley & Lindsay (clusters in LMC)
Steph - Stephenson (open clusters)
Stock - (open clusters)
Ter - Terzan (globular clusters)
Tombaugh - (open clusters)
Ton - Tonantzintla (globular clusters)
Tr - Trumpler (open clusters)
UA - Catalog of selected Non-UGC galaxies
UGC - Uppsala General Catalog (galaxies)
UKS - United Kingdom Schmidt (globular clusters)
Upgren - (open clusters)
VV - Vorontsov-Velyaminov (interacting galaxies)
vdB - van den Bergh (open clusters, bright nebulae)
vdBH - van den Bergh & Herbst (bright nebulae)
vdB-Ha - van den Bergh-Hagen (open clusters)
Vy - Vyssotsky (planetary nebulae)
Waterloo - (open clusters)
Westr - Westerlund (open clusters)
Zw - Zwicky (galaxies)

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