Star maps, also known as star charts or sky maps, are diagrams that depict the positions of stars and other celestial objects in the night sky at a certain time.
These maps have been used for thousands of years by astronomers, navigators, and stargazers to help them understand and navigate the night sky. But how are these star maps made?
CREATING A STAR MAP
The process of creating a star map begins with the collection of data. Traditionally astronomers use telescopes to observe the night sky and take measurements of the positions, brightness, and other properties of stars and other celestial objects. However, in recent times we have access to much more extensive data via various space telescopes and observatories. This data is then used to create a catalogue of stars and other objects. One of the most famous and widely used catalogues is the Hipparcos catalogue.
Once the data has been collected from various sources and catalogued, the next step is to create the star map. Picturethestars.com then uses this raw astronomical data and translates it into usable information which is done in real time at a minor scale, this process is then repeated at a greater scale and magnitude to produce the printable version.
STAR MAP BUILDER
Advancements in the latest technology and software has allowed star maps to be created in “Star map builders” which work in real time on web browsers on devices such as modern smart phones and PC’s. Try it here.
Mathematicians and astronomers used to do all this manually before the digital age. However, we have come a long way since then and for the level of accuracy and vast amounts of astronomical data required the advancement of technology has facilitated and made this possible.