I'm working on a star map program and I'm wondering what are the most common map projections used to print star maps...? I want to map of the entire visible sky from a certain point on the surface of Earth. I have all the visible stars and their Altitude-Azimuth, but I need to map this semi-sphere onto a circle in 2D.

I'd like to get something like this:

Star map

I've been playing around with equidistant and gnomonic (-1 RE) projections but they feel too distorted. What are the most common projections used for 2D, circular, entire-visible-sky star maps?


1 Answer 1


The stereographic projection (Wikipedia, Wolfram MathWorld) is commonly used for all-sky maps (e.g. Skymaps.com, Your Sky). As distance from the center of the map increases, constellations grow larger but keep their shapes.

  • $\begingroup$ Stereographic worked beautifully, thanks! $\endgroup$
    – gphilip
    Sep 5, 2016 at 23:33
  • $\begingroup$ Does stereographic projection works also for horizon views? $\endgroup$ Oct 25, 2019 at 18:13
  • $\begingroup$ @Mr_LinDowsMac Yes, if you can accept a slightly curved horizon. If the view is very wide, a cylindrical projection may be a better choice. $\endgroup$
    – Mike G
    Oct 25, 2019 at 18:27
  • $\begingroup$ I found some of your projections here: armchairastronautics.blogspot.com/p/skymap.html, and allows to set a horizon marker in some of them. I tried with cyllindrical stereographic, but the problem is to find the right amount of zoom of naked eye user view, there is no FOV field settting. $\endgroup$ Oct 25, 2019 at 19:17

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