The Astronomy Logbook Project

The following (and a couple other) free and open source software were used to make these books!

KStars KStars

Inkscape Inkscape
ImageMagick ImageMagick
The GNU Image


The Astronomy Logbook project was motivated by the Bangalore Astronomical Society's observation certificate programme.

The project aims to create free (both as in freedom and cost-free) and open source tools to make astronomy logbooks that become all-in-one resources for amateur astronomers interested in visual observation.

All of the code for this project (TeX + BASH) as it stands today was written by Akarsh Simha, with a lot of inspiration, motivation, and valuable suggestions from a number of people, who are listed in the Credits section.

How does it work?

The logbooks are typeset using LaTeX. The logbooks have both static content (eg: Copyright information, usage guidelines, etc.) and dynamic content (eg: the actual logging forms, the checklist tables, etc.). The static content is just a bunch of static TeX files. A BASH shell script generates TeX commands to typeset the dynamic content.

The star charts are rendered by KStars, which is controlled by the shell script via the D-Bus interprocess communication system. Basic deep-sky data is also accessed from KStars via D-Bus.

Various other open source tools are used in the process: Inkscape is used to convert from SVG to PDF format, xmlstarlet is used to parse XML output from KStars, ImageMagick is used to convert between and resize raster image formats.

Sweet! Where's the source code?

This code is admittedly not something I'm proud of since I had only picked up bits and pieces of shell scripting. But if you want to dig into it, here it is. If I ever had to write it again, I'd use Python, and fix the star size rendering in KStars.


The logbook draws on various content that has different licensing policy. Please see the "Legal" chapter of the logbooks for licensing information.