Star Maps are a great way to add interesting art to your home or office. Art that is both great to look at and personal to you.
Popular poster website craftoak.com has been helping people create their own customizable star map posters for the last 5 years but did you know you can also make your own for free?
Here is an easy step-by-step guide detailing how you can go about creating your own star map. It doesn’t take much time and is actually pretty fun!
To start, you’ll need to make sure you got the following:
- Microsoft Word or similar text editor
- Pencil or Pen Large paper card, e.g. black or white
- And of course, a computer & printer!
Step 1 – Where on earth?
For our first step, we need to figure out where on planet earth we want to see our stars from. This is also the part where you figure out what you want your star map to say. Was it a special moment somewhere? A birthday, anniversary, wedding, etc. Once you know this location, go to Latlong.net and type in that location and postal code to get the exact coordinates you need.
Step 2 – Calculating the stars
Go to Fourmillab and input the coordinates that you just received from the step above.
This website uses Universal Time only so you’ll now need to figure out the exact time of your special moment and convert it. You can use time.is for this. They have a time zone conversion tool that will help you convert your local time ( or the time of the event in your chosen location ) over to UTC.
Enter in your location, select the date and time, then type UTC in the “other locations” section then click “compare”.
The coordinates that you got in the first step now need to be entered into the “Observing” section on Fourmillab. Better to copy and paste this information to avoid any mistakes! Also, don’t forget to select North or South for your latitude and East or West for your Longitude.
Step 3 – Design your personalized Star Map
In Fourmillab, have a play and select any of the additional visual elements you’d like to see on your Star Map. Once you’re done, choose a large image size so that when you go and print your Star Map, it’s nice and clear. We recommend at least 150 pixels per inch. So if you’re printing a poster 10 inches wide, input 1500 pixels into the “image size” section.
There are also some color schemes you can choose from. Pick one you like and then click “update” to get a preview of your star map. Right-click this preview and save it to your computer.
Step 4 – Printing the stars
With the image you just saved, import it into your preferred word program. This could be Microsoft Word or Pages. If you have something like Photoshop or InDesign, even better! Import your image into a new document – we recommend either A4, A3 or A2 presets, choose a size that suits you and your printer.
Now comes the fun part where you add text. There are a lot of ways to do this and a little research will serve you well. We recommend heading over to pinterest.com and searching for “Star maps”. Have a browse at what other people have done with their maps, and using this inspiration come up with something you like.
When you’re done, press print and create your very own customizable star map poster!
We hope you enjoyed this how-to article.