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Long time coming

Yes, I know this site has been pretty dead lately. Interstate moves can do that. Fortunately, that's been over for a while, giving me some time to make updates.

The Star Mapper has gotten a big -- and long overdue -- update. New features include:

  • When you hover over a star to get its information, the information appears next to the star instead of in the upper right. The star itself gets highlighted as well.
  • The old, somewhat awkward selection menus are gone. Instead, you can enter locations directly. You can enter all common star designations (proper names, Bayer Greek letters, and IDs in star catalogs like Hipparcos and Gliese), as well as stellar coordinates in equatorial form (i.e., right ascension and declination). So you can cut and paste most names or coordinates from a Web site and have the map recognize them as a valid source or target.
  • The list of commonly used stars is still there. It just selects a star name for you automatically.
  • A blank selection for a star defaults to the Sun. So to view conventional Earth-based star charts, you can leave the source blank. To see the Sun, specifically, from other stars, you can leave the target blank.
  • The color scheme got a few tweaks, mostly to make nearby and Sunlike stars a bit more apparent.
  • The database queries are now more efficient, which not only makes the map faster, but also makes it possible to show more stars on the same map. There is no longer a hard magnitude limit with chart scale, the way there used to be.
  • A number of fainter stars were missing their Bayer and Flamsteed designations, because they didn't appear in the Yale Bright Star Catalog, my main source for this information. I have added approximately 220 Bayer and Flamsteed designations from Flamsteed's Missing Stars, Wagman, M., Journ. History of Astronomy, Vol. 18, No. 3. p.209 (1987).
  • Miscellaneous scrungy code got cleaned up a bit.

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