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Application NameNight Sky
Celestial sphere
DescriptionThe stars of the night sky taken from the Hipparcos astrometric catalogue. Stars can be viewed on the celestial sphere, with star sizes scaled by apparent magnitude, or in 3-d space with star sizes scaled by absolute magnitude.

The apparent magnitude range is controlled by two sliders (values are shown next to slider), representing the upper and lower magnitude values. The sky is blue/grey until upper apparent magnitude reaches 6.0.

In 3-d mode, the distance from the solar system is indicated by a circle (radius of circle is shown next to circle). Slider still controls apparent magnitude, so that the different brightness of stars that appear the same to us on Earth can be demonstrated.
ApplicationCustom S2PLOT
Main Controls
  1. < spacebar > = Toggle between night-sky and 3-d space
  2. +/- = zoom in/out (maximum zoom is fixed for celestial sphere mode)
  3. Shift+Right mouse click on circular handles to drag
  4. a = Toggle autospin
  5. c = Toggle display of constellation bounding boxes (3 examples are implemented)
  6. Shift-Esc = Quit
KeywordsStars, magnitude, light pollution, Hipparcos
User comments
Some stars are red: these have strange stellar classifications, but do not need to be brought to the attention of the audience
Zoom out to the celestial sphere before toggling into the 3D real-space mode.