About 8 years ago I discovered a brilliant little program for generating high quality printed star charts called PP3. Basically, it reads star, deepsky and constellation data from installed catalogues and builds a LaTeX file which can be compiled to give superb and highly customisable PDF output. And everything had to be done from the command line. I was in geek heaven using it!
Development of the PP3 software seems to have stopped around 2003. The version of PP3 which worked on my old Windows XP laptop no longer functions under Windows 7. I found various workarounds in the last year, including installing XP as Virtual Machine using Oracle VM VirtualBox. The results were hit and miss; sometimes the thing worked and sometimes it would crash with memory problems while compiling.
So today a bit of a victory; I downloaded the PP3 source and learned how to convert it to C++ and compile a new version of the software that runs on Windows 7. If anyone wants it this executable, just drop me a line. Yes, I'm aware that 99.99% of the human race will not. Next step...make star charts for my work in progress astronomy book.
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Dr Adrian Jannetta. Amateur astronomer, maths teacher and science enthusiast.