Quasars plugin

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The Quasars plugin provides visualization of some quasars brighter than 16 visual magnitude. A catalogue of quasars compiled from "Quasars and Active Galactic Nuclei" (13th Ed.) (Veron+ 2010).

Example (3C 249.1, also known as LEDA 2821945 or 4C 77.09): qso_3c_249.1.jpg

Using the Quasars plugin

  1. Enable the tool by clicking the tool-bar button "Load at startup"
  2. Find the quasar by their designation (3C 249.1 as example)

Section [Quasars] in config.ini file

You can edit config.ini file by yourself for changes of the settings for the Quasars plugin - just make it carefully!

ID Type Version Description
Plugin Stellarium
last_update string 0.1.1+ 0.11.2+ Date and time of last update
update_frequency_days int 0.1.1+ 0.11.2+ Frequency of updates, in days
updates_enable bool 0.1.4+ 0.11.4+ Enable updates of quasars catalog from Internet
url string 0.1.1+ 0.11.2+ URL of quasars catalog
enable_at_startup bool 0.1.10+ 0.12.2+ Enable displaying of quasars at startup of planetarium
distribution_enabled bool 0.1.4+ 0.11.4+ Enable distribution mode for the quasars
flag_show_quasars_button bool 0.1.10+ 0.12.2+ Enable displaying quasars button on toolbar
marker_color R,G,B 0.1.13+ 0.13.0+ Color for marker of the quasars (for the distribution mode)

Catalog of quasars

You can modify the catalog.json file manually using a text editor. If you are using Windows, it is strongly recommended to use an advanced text editor such as Notepad++ to avoid problems with end-of-line characters. (It will also color the JSON code and make it easier to read.)

Warning: Before editing your catalog.json, make a backup copy. Leaving out the smallest detail (such as a comma or forgetting to close a curly bracket) will prevent Stellarium from starting.

The path to the directory which contains catalog.json is something like:

  • C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\Stellarium\modules\Quasars (Windows Vista, Windows 7)
  • C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Application Data\Stellarium\modules\Quasars (Windows XP)
  • HomeDirectory/Library/Preferences/Stellarium/modules/Quasars (Mac OS X)
  • ~/.stellarium/modules/Quasars (Linux)

(Note that this is a hidden folder, so in order to find it you may need to change your computer's settings to display hidden files and folders.)

Format of catalog

To add a new quasar, open a new line after line 5 and paste the following, note commas and brackets, they are important:

             "Quasar designation":
                   "RA": "Right ascension (J2000)",
                   "DE": "Declination (J2000)",
                   "Amag": value of absolute magnitude,
                   "Vmag": value of visual magnitude,
                   "z": value of Z (redshift),
                   "bV": value of B-V colour

For example, record for 3C 249.1:

             "3C 249.1":
                   "RA": "11h04m13.8s",
                   "DE": "+76d58m58s",
                   "Amag": -25.1,
                   "Vmag": 15.72,
                   "z": 0.313,
                   "bV": -0.02

Version history

Plug-in version Stellarium version Significant changes
0.1.1 0.11.2 First public version of plugin
0.1.2 0.11.3 Fixed few bugs (stabilization of code)
0.1.4 0.11.4 Added GUI to plug-in
0.1.5 0.12.0 Use new rendering engine of core
0.1.10 0.12.2 Added the button to toggle quasars on toolbar. Improvements for search tool. Updated code.
0.1.13 0.13.0 Improvements for performance. Added marker_color parameter.
0.1.14 0.13.3 Improvements for performance and code refactoring.

How you can help

We are welcome bug reports, feature requests and feedback through the usual channels (trackers, forums and so on).

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