Cartes du Ciel is free software released under the terms of the
GNU General Public License
The UCAC4 star catalog was published by USNO in 2012. It include 113 millions stars to magnitude 16.
UCAC4 is largely based on UCAC3 however, has a number of critical improvements:
For the use with Skychart the principal improvement are:
The screen shot to the right is for the same field as the one in the UCAC3 page. You can open the two picture in full for a better comparison.
A new version is available since March 4 2013 with correction for the following problems with the original data:
A catalog is build with this data is available for use with Skychart software.
The information for each star include: identifier, RA, Dec, proper motion, magnitude, color index and a flag (see below).
To use this catalog start by getting the part you need from the download page.
It is split in three part so you can get only the zone visible from your area, but you need all for a full sky coverage.
A fourth file ucac4-index-v2.zip contain the optional search index for all the zones. Note that you need to use skychart version 3.7-svn2252 or later in order to use the index.
Each file is about 600 MB is size.
Extract every zip in the same directory (Windows: Program Files\Ciel\cat\, Linux: /usr/share/skychart/cat/, Mac: Applications/Cartes du Ciel/cat/). As each zip can be used without the other there is two common files on each, when prompted for replacement by your zip software you can respond yes or no to overwrite without effect.
Then from Skychart open the menu Setup -> Catalog -> Catalog, click the Add button and select the file ucac4\4uc.hdr. Click on the first column to make it green.
Do not forget to save the default options.
My preferred star catalog setting for general use is now:
|Catalog||Field number||Field degrees|
|Extended Hipparcos||0 - 10||0 - 360|
|4UC||0 - 5||0 - 20|
The first magnitude available is selected by order of preference:
A color index is indicated only if APASS B and V are available.
Flags are the following:
If you have a copy of the UCAC4 DVD, or if you download the full u4b folder from the CDS or a web mirror, you can use Catgen to build your own catalog from the original data files. This allow you to include more or less information for each star depending on your needs.
You must first copy the DVD content to your disk to correct for the error with the high proper motion stars. See USNO UCAC page for more information and to get the script required to correct the binary data.
Then convert the binary data on the DVD to ASCII text files using the include u4dump program or my u4conv program.
The advantage of u4conv is it process all the files at a time, add the star identifier, a selected magnitude and the color index after the other data. It also remove the streak by using the file streaklist.txt.
You can download u4conv for Windows and Linux or get the source code. Run the program in a console to show the syntax help.
The --cddir option must point to the folder containing u4b/, not the individual data files.
Then use Catgen to convert the text files to a binary catalog optimized for chart display. You can start by loading the project file used for the standard catalog.
If you use Linux or Mac OS, be sure to read the specific notes in the Catgen documentation page.
Use a snapshot more recent than skychart-3.7-2252 to build an index more than 2GB in size.