Skychart (Cartes du Ciel) – explore and map the skies

July 8, 2009 at 2:35 pm (Maths and science) (, , , , , , , )

When I was little, I always happened to wonder about the millions of stars which light up the night sky. I needed to be a astronomer some day, and I wanted to buy a telescope. Anyway, I couldn’t have enough time to do it. Anyways, for the people who are armature astronomers, the skychart is an excellent program.

Skychart 3 alpha running on my fedora 11

Skychart 3 alpha running on my fedora 11

It renders sky of any time of the day, at any location of earth (or anywhere), at any angle using the supplied data with the program. As you can see in the screen shot above, you can rotate, select,zoom any star object in the map to gain information about it. The Field of Vision (FOV) can be changed, deciding the angle you want to look at (the pane to the right). The standard markers like equatorial coordinates, galactic coordinates etc… are on the left pane. Did I tell you that this program can show sky from 3000BC to 3000AD?

As you know, the galaxies contain huge amount of star objects so it’s not possible to render everything in the data files. Program settings allow to change what you want to see… it could be galaxies, nebula or even asteroids. Powerful search functions enable to find desired object in seconds. The core of the program is built with freepascal and the GUI is built with lazarus.

The professional approach

Without just looking at the map, skychart has the ability to edit them, label objects and build a map from the scratch. It can conect with SQL databases and standard astronomy catalogue sites like CDS or ADC. It uses catgen to convert these to a format which is readable by skychart. You can add a telescope (manual or automatic) to the program, and process the data directly from it. (These data can be sent to SQL databases too).

Additionally, program can predict a whole astronomical calendar.. eclipses, twilight, sun-rise, comets etc…

A fascinating feature is the night vision mode. This is heavily required when you looking at the stars from naked eye. (You loose sensitivity in dark if you see a bright light for some seconds). You can visit their homepage for more details from this link.

Skychart running on night vision mode

Skychart running on night vision mode



For Fedora,suse, mandriva people type in terminal as root

yum install skychart

For ubuntu,mint,debian use

sudo apt-get skychart

Or you can go to sourforge download page to download what is best for you.


Anyways, the Version 3 was released late, so you may get beta versions with above method. The source code for the latest version can be downloaded from this link.


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Fedora 11 – The buggiest fedora ever

July 3, 2009 at 2:58 pm (1, Linux News) (, , , , , , , )

Fedora 11 is the buggiest of the Fedora clan but it doesn’t mean it’s bad. As my opinion it’s the best Linux Distro… Most of these bugs were due to the fact that I have out-dated hardware!

My fedora 11 Gnome desktop ... Nothing new fron FC9

My fedora 11 Gnome desktop ... Nothing new fron FC9

I have mentioned why I decided to upgrade from fedora 9 to 11 in my previous blog article. So here I’m almost after a week ……. wonder what happened? I was fighting the bugs which were found to be ultimate challenge and test of stamina after I started using Linux. For 3 days, I was hopeless as I was unable to see even the desktop! But problems did not end there for me… There are still some unsolved mysteries even with after upgrading bug-fixes. You should understand that I’m kind of addicted to Fedora, so whatever happens I would be using her just hoping that bug-fixes will arrive in time, and the next Fedora 12 would be somthing brilliant like Fedora 9. (Still, i think Fedora is the best as it comes with cutting-edge tech which is why actually these bugs come)

On last Saturday, after writing my previous blog, I first decided to upgrade from version 9 to 11. I saw the warnings on others who tried it, but as I have upgraded 7,8 to 9 it didn’t come new to me. So I upgraded which took 4 hours, and when restarted it shows GRUB all over the screen where GRUB should be loading. Like this:


So I boot Fedora11 with rescue mode and typed

chroot /mnt/sysimage ‘changing root path to FC11 root

and i opened grub.conf file in /etc and it appeared good, it shows that it had identified the windows OS, and had pointed to correct paths. No problem.

The /boot/grub/ file was correct, which says which hard drive is sda and sdb. The file looks like this:

(hd0) /dev/sda

(hd1) /dev/sdb

Hence, (hd0,0) refers to 1st partition on 1st hard drive (ex: sda1) on the grub.conf file, (hd1,1) refers to 2nd partition on the 2nd (ex: sdb2).

So i reinstalled grub with grub-install sdb (as my linux installation was in 2nd hard drive) but didn’t work, but doing

grub-install -–force-lba sdb

did work. Error found to be something to do with the AWARD bios and grub.

So I came to the fedora 11, but upgrade has been buggy. So buggy that it crashes every time. With no choice, I decided to back-up my data and do a fresh install.

So I did the fresh-install using “use entire drive” option, and without changing any details as a beginner would do. When installation was complete, I saw “Error 22” instead of grub upon rebooting. It means that system cannot find the bootloader, which is GRUB. I looked at the files and it seemed like system has detected the drives in wrong #’s. So I did grub-install again, with –recheck and -–force-lba which didn’t work.

So I decide to install again, this time using custom settings for partitions. I used Ext3 for / partition where Ext4 was the default. This did work, finally. Finally I was able to run fedora11. The problem was that the GRUB still cannot identify Ext4 file system, and it gives errors in some systems.

So here I see the desktop, but wrong resolution. So i typed system-config-display on the terminal… but there was no such command! You do have a “Display” applet on System>Prefrences but it couldn’t even get my monitor type. So I installed system-config-display by,

yum install system-config-display

I was soon to find out that i’m becoming a yum addict. This is because programs which used to compile well on FC9, ends up on errors (C syntax errors – you can’t solve those) particularly due to version incompitabilty of GCC and Cmake etc… So a person who haven’t used yum before (me) started doing everything by it!

Upon installing mplayer – my favourite player, I found out that it crashes everytime I open a video! Damn— It did superbly on FC9! Unable to figure out why, I was shocked that even the vlc played buggy and totem too did the same! By this time I knew something was wrong with multimedia drivers — but later found out that it’s a bug of PulseAudio — and again updating didn’t help. Changing to ALSA and OSS didn’t help as they seem “deactivated” although everything I could find on these have been installed.

Anyway, I could get mplayer to run by changing the video output driver from Xvideo to opengl. But it doesn’t give the previous quality. But still up to now, i can’t hear any sound at lmms,hydrogen, audacity and record-sound.

Finally trying to print by IT degree notes I plugged in my HP P1005 laserjet. I saw an improvement than in FC9, it automatically installed driver and software for the printer! But when I sent a document to print… nothing happened.. It says “your printer may not be connected” … what the HELL? I checked the installed drivers and they were 100% correct. I guess this is a bug in new hplip 3 or cups. Still not solved. Printer did well in FC9 where I manually installed hplip 2.8.

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