Although many stellar data files are publicly available on the Internet from
NASA and other astronomical organizations, there is no set format for these
files. The program starconvert acts as a buffer between this confusion and
the format in which StarPlot requires data files. To do so, it uses a
specification file that details how various fields of stellar data (name,
distance, right ascension, etc.) may be extracted from the original data file.
On the StarPlot web site are available some packages of data that include
both an original data file from NASA, and also a specification file.
These packages are referred to as "data sets", from which starconvert can
produce a data file in StarPlot format. For ease of use, this should be
done via the
The starconvert command uses the specifications in
spec-file to convert
input-file to StarPlot data format and writes the results to
output-file if specified, or standard output if not. The first two arguments are required.
Exactly ONE may be replaced with a dash - for reading from standard input.