Looking for a free sky map software? Want to create your own celestial maps or charts of observations? Are there any freeware application to draw charts of the night sky? If you are an astronomy enthusiast or stargazer, I suggest you try Skychart. The Cartes du Ciel Skychart is a free, open source program for creating maps of the night sky. It will let you draw sky charts by utilizing data from 16 different catalogs of stars and nebulae. The charts created with this software nicely displays position and details of stars, nebulae, planets, asteroid, comets etc.
Written in Pascal, the Cartes du Ciel-SkyChart works on Linux, BSD, Windows and Mac OS X operating system. The interface is intuitive and comes packed with many options. Key features of this free sky chart software include Zooming in/out, mirroring/rotating of chart, Night Vision mode, search objects, lock chart on an object, printing charts, save/restore charts etc. Detailed information on selected objects are also provided. When you select an object on the map, the status bar will display information about it such as the equatorial coordinates and the name.
Apart from stars, this freeware sky map software also displays Deep Sky Objects. The standard installation has Bright Stars Catalog with 9096 stars and SAC catalog with 10,600 deep sky objects. Skychart can display solar system with sun, planets and satellites. The standard installation comes with a sample file of 207 comets and 5000 asteroids. Skychart application can simulate orbits of solar system objects. It can also display twilight colour and ephemeris for solar system objects.
Skychart can be used with telescopes. It can easily drive electronically controlled telescope mounts. But you can also provide it instructions to turn knobs on a manual mount. By default, Skychart supports only a limited number of telescopes. Any telescope model supported by INDI will work with SkyChart. Also you can use plugins to interface to ASCOM, Meade protocol or a simple encoder interface to make your telescope compatible. For video recording, your system must have ffmpeg software.
Languages: English, Catalan, Greek, French, Hungarian, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Russian, Turkish and Ukrainian
Operating systems: BSD, Linux, Windows and Mac OS X
Official Website: http://www.ap-i.net/skychart/