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Thread: Atlas of the Celestial Heavens

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      Ghostman is offline
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    Default Atlas of the Celestial Heavens

    Atlas of the Celestial Heavens-celestial-atlas.png

    This is a star chart I created for my fantasy setting, the Savage Age. It covers the fixed stars visible to the naked eye that are known to the scholars and navigators of a particular civilization, the Argyrian Empire. Because the Argyrians live on the nothern hemisphere, the southernmost parts of the celestial sphere are never visible to them, hence the chart is missing a 30 degree radius area around the southern celestial pole.

    The map shows and lists the common constellations according to the mythology of the Argyrians, with special attention given to the nine constellations forming the zodiac (along the path of the ecliptic, which is marked on the chart), as those have the greatest astrological significance. Though it may be difficult to spot, the chart also features the faint band of light known as the Path-of-Pearl, which circles the heavens at a steep angle relative to the ecliptic and to the celestial equator.

    Both of the celestial hemispheres as well as all the zodiac close-ups are in the stereographic projection, projected from an equirectangular source picture via NASA's G.projector app. The hemispheres are actually not true hemispheres, as they were projected to a radius of 105 degrees from the celestial poles -- 15 degrees past the celestial equator. Thus you can see some of the stars and (parts of) the constellations on both the northern and the southern hemisphere. Since the projection distorts size, constellations near the poles appear diminished while those near the equator appear enlarged. Their shapes should be nearly correct though.

    The stars were randomly generated as single-pixel dots of 6 different colors (representing 6 magnitudes of star brightness) at variable densities, so that dim stars would be much more common than bright ones. I had to manually move some stars around to make them match the planned constellations. The color-coded pixels were converted to shades of gray corresponding to their intended brightnesses and then input to an ImageMagick script to produce the 6-pointed star symbols seen on the map.

    I aimed for a visual style that would invoke an iron age, greco-roman feel, all black ink on a sheet of parchment. I got the decorative human and animal figures from a symbol font.

  2. #2
      TheRedEpic is offline
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    This is beyond awesome! Love the map. You may want to trump up the celestial constellations themselves however for better legibility, or do them in a very light white or whitish blue to make them stand apart from the blackness of the page. It would make them much easier to read and break up the complete monochromatic-ness of the piece. Just my 2 cents
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      Humabout is offline
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    Excellent work, Ghostman! The only thing I think would make this more interesting is making the stars different sizes/brightnesses based on their luminosity. This would give a sense of how bright teh stars are in the night sky and probably help explain why those are the constellations and not other star combinations.

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      Ilanthar is offline
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    Well designed! I like your constellations, they're well drawn and very plausible.

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      Eilathen is offline
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    This looks cool!
    Although i'd rather see the worldmap for SA one of these days...i'm waiting for it since...oh forever
    I'm trapped in Darkness,
    Still I reach out for the Stars

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      Ghostman is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Humabout View Post
    Excellent work, Ghostman! The only thing I think would make this more interesting is making the stars different sizes/brightnesses based on their luminosity. This would give a sense of how bright teh stars are in the night sky and probably help explain why those are the constellations and not other star combinations.
    They in fact are of different brightnesses, it just can be hard to notice. If you look at the the close-up of the constellation of the Horn you should be able to see the difference in the stars there. I could have set the contrast greater, but I was afraid that might make the dimmest stars a little too dim.

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    Guild Apprentice Havercakes24's Avatar
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    Sooo cool great job man!

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      Lingon is offline
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    This looks great! The tortoise is my new favorite constellation Really nice job. Repped and rated

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