So, I'm trying my hand at making a star map. Any suggestions on how to make the stars look better are welcome, as well as suggestion on labeling the map. The map will soon have an X and Y vector coordinates along the boarder, and i'm currently planing to put a [+/-Z] next to the star. Also, i'm unsure of the scale. I'm thinking each square will be 10 light years.
As I said, any and all suggestions are welcome.
Are all the stars significant? If the bulk of the starscape is background, you want some way to have the ones you're concerned with stand out - bigger, brighter, flares, symbols - something.
If the stellar class doesn't matter to the user of the map, might as well make them all the same color. But if, say, your students at the stellar nav academy need to remember NOT to route passenger liners past the blue-white gamma-flooding flare star, then by all means, show color.
Starfields are easy to *depict* but hard to *map*. A useful display on the bridge of a ship for instance might focus on just the stars that have jump gates, or that have inhabited planets, or some other important characteristic. And since most look alike to the naked eye (okay - similar), meaningful symbols might be better than bright dots in a black field.
As to scale of the map - if you treat a broad enough swath, the flat-spiral structure of a typical galaxy somewhat constrains your z-direction. If you're in the middle of a globular cluster with just as much z-axis in play as the x and y though, then it's going to be tough for a reader to discern that the two adjacent stars marked z+255 and z-397 are way, way further apart than the two separated by 80 LY in x-y, but at about the same z.
I agree with jbgibson, although as it is, it looks like it would be a great background image.
I'd suggest a little blur on the tiny unimportant stars in the background (really little, like 1px); it helps keep them from looking like speckles or pixels.
Also, I'm assuming the colored ones are the important stars and the coloring is symbolic? Otherwise, I'd change that up a bit. Afaik, there aren't any green-spectrum stars, and even red/blue/yellow stars are really mostly white, so I'd brighten them and take down the saturation if you're going for true-color.