StarPlot 0.95.2 review

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StarPlot is a program for Unix that allows you to view charts of the relative 3-dimensional positions of stars in space. It is fre

License: GPL (GNU General Public License)
File size: 452K
Developer: Kevin McCarty
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StarPlot is a program for Unix that allows you to view charts of the relative 3-dimensional positions of stars in space.

It is free software; the source code for StarPlot is available under the GNU General Public License. Here is a screenshot (click for a larger image).

Here are some key features of "StarPlot":
Stars can be right-clicked to display a data popup window.
Stars can be displayed or hidden by spectral class and absolute magnitude (also shown above).
Stellar absolute magnitude limits can be set automatically based on the radius of the chart.
Non-stellar objects such as nebulae are also supported.
The stars being viewed may be plotted on a Hertzsprung-Russell diagram.
Charts may be viewed in either celestial or galactic coordinate systems.
Charts may be recentered, rotated, or zoomed in or out with a mouse click (this can also, of course, be done via dialog boxes for more precision).
Current chart parameters may be saved to a file and reloaded later.
The data file format is easy to read, well-documented, and text based.
StarPlot is packaged with a program (starconvert) that converts line-oriented stellar data records to StarPlot format. Several well-known star catalogues are available from this website, complete with all the data needed for conversions.

The latest version of StarPlot is 0.95.2; it is based on the GTK+ graphics library, version 2.x. You will need that and a recent C++ compiler, preferably g++ 2.95.x or higher, to compile the program. (If you only have GTK+ 1.2, you can still compile StarPlot version 0.93.1.) In theory StarPlot should compile on any Unix platform with GTK+ 2 and g++ installed. As of version 0.94 StarPlot has an autoconf-generated configure script; this should make compilation straightforward via the usual procedure:

./configure && make && make install

The program does not redraw its display while scanning data files. Patches to make it (reliably) multi-threaded are welcome.
When more than one data file is opened at a time, StarPlot does not check for duplicated stars.
I have reports of a bus error on Mac OS X. This seems to come about as a result of using unstable versions of freetype2; if you experience the problem it ought to be fixable by installing freetype2 version 2.0.9. I'll investigate more thoroughly when I have a chance.

What's New in This Release:
src/*: Prefix enum types with "star_" to avert name clash on BSD.

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