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Links

There are lots of other links to astrometry, 3d rendering, stellar cartography, and other topics covered in 3D Universe. Here are some that are especially useful:

  • Stellar Cartography
    • 3-D Starmaps. Probably the best all-purpose jumping-off point for laypeople: it contains information on calculating stellar positions, drawing various kinds of star maps, and incorporating star information into science fiction works.
  • Stellar Properties and Distribution
    • RECONS, the Research Consortium on Nearby Stars. This is an organization of professional astronomers interested in obtaining a thorough understanding of the stellar population near the Sun. There are some resources here that are useful to amateurs as well.
    • Nearby Star Observers, a small group of astronomy enthusiasts who specialize in observing stars close to the Sun and maintain a database of information on stars within 20 parsecs (65 light years) of the Sun.
  • Star Catalogs
    • ARI Database for Nearby Stars, which lets you look up basic information (position, spectrum, magnitude, etc.) for stars in a variety of catalogs.
    • Hipparcos mission home page. Without this mission, 3D Universe would never have existed. The Hipparcos web site contains a lot of useful graphical information in its own right, including animations and anaglyphic ("red-green glasses") stereo imagery.
  • 3D graphics and rendering
    • POV-Ray web site. POV-Ray is the freeware ray-tracing program used to produce many of the 3D Universe graphics. Ray tracing is a powerful method that can be used both for technical illustrations (such as those in 3D Universe) and high-quality creative art.
    • Home page for ChView, a freeware 3D star chart program for PC clones (Win 3.1/95/98). ChView, produced in honor of the science fiction author C. H. Cherryh, lets you display groups of stars interactively (e.g., you can select groups of stars to display, rotate them on the screen, draw lines between stars under a certain distance apart, etc.) It makes a nice complement to POV-Ray renderings: it's not as graphically sophisticated, but it's much faster, requires no programming knowledge, is more flexible in some ways, and is uniquely useful for visualizing the space around the Sun.
    • StarStrider, a stunning program for Windows that lets you visit any star in the Hipparcos catalog and see the sky from that point.

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