Solution: use SpaceEngine !
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Constellations visualization in 3D

A project that arose while writing an article on Space Engine related to constellations, where i show how some constellations looks like from Altaïr.

See the cookbook for the full data search and handling of this project.

Current results

Not really precise, sometimes completely off. All constellations seems a bit weird, with misplaced stars. One really recognizable is Cygnus, but there is no point of view that get it right.

Retrieve stars informations

Our goal is to be able to place stars in a carthesian (rectangular) coordinates system.

This is made possible by some geometry conversions from the galactic coordinate system. Stars locations are retrieved from SIMBAD database.

Retrieve constellations informations

Are needed the constellations content, and their names.

The retrieve_stellarium_data recipe do precisely that.

Plot graphs in 3D

This part is theoretically quite simple : a constellation is basically a graph with stars as nodes and link between stars as edges.

So, at the very least, we just need to plot dots and lines in a 3D space, which should not be that hard.

  • a list of 3D engines
  • blender ? as python scripting, seems good… but i can't find a list of creatable objects and their parameters. I don't know blender at all.
  • pyqt ? seems to be a low level interface to opengl
  • qt vtk ? seems good
  • kyvi ? seems complicated for 3D

Solutions that works with opengl directly (pyglet for instance) are probably too long to learn. Plotting is not all: we have to be able to move around the structure in order to reach the final goal.

finally, solutions

  • gnuplot