Star charts for e-book / e-ink devices (e.g. the Amazon Kindle and Kindle DX)Please email me with any questions, comments, or improvements.
DownloadFor the Kindle:
For the Kindle DX:
UsageTo use the charts on a kindle:
- Plug your kindle into your computer and open up the Kindle storage volume.
- Make a directory called "pictures". Underneath that, make a directory called something like "StarCharts". Hint: if you have trouble, make sure the folder doesn't have any spaces in the name (spaces are fine for me, but at least one Mac user had trouble with a space in the name).
- Unzip the above archive and copy all the images to the "StarCharts" directory.
- Eject/unmount the kindle.
- Go to the home screen of the kindle and hit "alt-z". A new entry called "StarCharts" should appear, which should allow you to see the charts.
- When viewing the charts, press "F" to see them full screen, and press "F" again to exit full screen mode.
These charts are optimized for the Amazon Kindle or other E Ink based e-book reader. The aim is to cover the whole sky, making possible the location and identification of the milky way, constellations, bright stars, and some deep-sky objects, at any time, and from anywhere on Earth. Some patience and familiarity with the night sky will be necessary to get oriented in the sky and identify the relevant charts for a given time and place.
The current product is a set of 14 600x800 pixel or 1200x825 pixel gray-scale PNG images covering the entire sky, with significant overlap. They are designed to be viewed rotated 90°. There is one image centered on the north celestial pole, one on the south celestial pole, 6 images centered at +30° declination (spaced at 4h intervals in right ascension), and 6 images centered at -30° declination. These are not the most convenient orientations or centerings for any particular location or time on Earth, but they do cover the whole sky.
SourceIf you want to customize or improve upon these charts (and there's certainly lots of room for improvement), feel free to download the above source code. It consists of two PP3 scripts kindle.pp3 and kindle_template.pp3, and a python script that generates and runs the PP3 scripts for the individual charts makecharts.py. In addition to PP3 and python, you need pstoimg from latex2html to render the EPS (encapsulated postscript) files to PNG (run automatically from makecharts.py).
Usagepython makecharts.py kindle_template.pp3
python makecharts.py kindleDX_template.pp3 DX
MotivationAfter my brother generously gave me an Amazon Kindle for my birthday, I started looking around the web for star charts that would be usable on it. The kindle has an 600x800 pixel E Ink display with four shades of gray. This means that most star charts meant for computer screens don't have enough contrast or are overly reliant on color, and most star charts meant to be printed require too high a resolution to be easily used on the kindle. Compounding these problems is the Kindle's primitive image display interface, which doesn't allow scrolling of over-sized images. Looking around for a way to produce my own charts I considered various planetarium programs like xephem and skychart, but nothing I found was optimized for producing the kind of charts I needed. Then I stumbled across PP3, which turns out to be perfect for this purpose.
AcknowledgmentsThe charts were generated using PP3 -- Celestial Chart Generation software by Torsten Bronger. Extra annotations were copied from the wikipedia constellation project examples included with PP3.