More components for expanding CNebulaX (current release is 1.7.5)


(1) Add more deep sky object databases: more than one million deep sky objects and 25 million stars

(2) Update the EXE file with the newest compiled one (correct errors and extent capabilities)

return to the main page

José R. Torres


IMPORTANT: The new databases are only compatible with the current release, CNebulaX, and further versions

You should replace old versions (Windex and SkyIndex) with the new one before expanding the databases



 For expanding CNEBULAX: new databases (latest compiled EXE file below)


After the installation of the program, you will likely wish to expand it by including additional databases. Once installed them properly in the directories indicated below, the program will show more that a 1,250,00 deep sky objects, double and variable stars, plus 25 million stars and 330,000 asteroids and comets. Bellow you will see the links for downloading the currently available databases. These links lead to the latest available versions: I will include new updates as I correct the databases or include new objects (the dates are indicated as a reference). If you update the database, be sure to be using the latest CNebulaX exe file (you can update it within this webpage, see below)



(1) GENERAL database

            Unzip the files within [RootCNebulaXfolder]\GENERAL

            Download the GENERAL database (September 24th, 2007)


The GENERAL database includes the brightest deep sky objects, double, variable and reference stars. It represents basically the information shown by CNebulaX at wide magnifications, and gathers the best deep sky objects in the whole sky, mainly from the SAC72 database, FK5, and a selection of the Washington Double Stars and GCVS. This is the standard database distributed with the CNebulaX setup. However, the version included here corrects some database errors and it is highly recommended. It gathers 32,193 objects.


IMPORTANT: critical database: please, update it (September 24th, 2007)


 (2) Additional non-stellar objects database

            Unzip the files within [RootCNebulaXfolder]\NONSTEL

            Download the NONSTEL database (September 1, 2006)


This database expands the GENERAL database by adding other catalogues: the visual open cluster catalogue, galaxy clusters (Abell, Zwicky and Hickson), the Strasbourgh-ESO catalogue of planetary nebulae, full NGC and IC, quasars and radiosources (3C, 4C and others), and additional bright and dark nebula catalogues (Sh2, LBN, LDN and others). It gathers 65,987 deep sky objects of very different nature.



(3) Paturel's Principal Galaxy Catalogue

            Unzip the files within [RootCNebulaXfolder]\GALXY

            Download the GALXY database (September 1, 2006)


The GENERAL database includes around 7,000 galaxies. The purpose of the GALXY database is to confer CNebulaX a high detail level for zoomed areas. So the GALXY database gathers the full PGC catalogue: 73,190 galaxies, which makes navigating by galaxy fields really delicious. I have extended this number to one million galaxies, with the compilation of the HyperLEDA database (see below). Nevertheless, the PGC includes more information for each galaxy, so it is recommended to install it together with HyperLEDA.



(4) Washington Double Star database

            Unzip the files within [RootCNebulaXfolder]\DBLST

            Download the current DBLST database (September 24th, 2007)


The GENERAL database includes just a selection of the best double stars. I have prepared an updated database, with 106,000 double stars (WDS, February 2005 release). The linked version here is "in progress" (still unofficial). The USNO team is still working on it in a process that is lasting several years. So you can enjoy of that new release, still unofficial, but remarkably more accurate than the current, official one. Do not forget replace also the GENERAL database.


IMPORTANT: magnitude/distance code re-calculated: please, update it (September 24th, 2007)



 (5) Variable stars: GCVS database

            Unzip the files within [RootCNebulaXfolder]\VARST

            Download the current VARST database (September 1, 2006)


                  I have included another database: the General Catalogue of Variable stars (GCVS): the Combined General Catalog of Variable Stars (GCVS 4.2, 2004 Ed.), with 38,624 confirmed variable stars in the main catalogue, 26,017 suspected variable stars (NSV catalogue), and around 11,000 stars in external galaxies and supernovae. It is the most extensive, accurate and recent version. With this new release, the unpleasant position discrepancies in the old release have become minimal. Do not forget replace also the GENERAL database.



(6) Still more galaxies? Get the HYPERLEDA: one million galaxies in your PC !!!!

            Unzip the files within [RootCNebulaXfolder]\GALXY

            Download the HLEDA database (March 1, 2006)


Do you want the most powerful catalogue of galaxies? I have prepared an extraordinary, last addition, more huge and precise than the PGC: the new HyperLEDA catalogue with 983,261 galaxies. Have a look to the screenshots section (cluster core view). This is a 30 Mb file, but it is well worth.



(7) An extended star database: the Guide Star Catalogue, 25 million stars and star-like objects in your PC !!!!

            Unzip the files within [RootCNebulaXfolder]

            Download the GSC 1.2 database (March 1, 2006)


I have got web space in the university server, so I have finally linked it. Grab it! It is a huge 120 Mb file, absolutely essential, with more than 25 million stars from GSC 1.2. With it, CNebulaX will get a dramatically new dimension, with a power enough to face the most difficult deep sky objects you can dream. It is also essential to overlay CCD images, to identify the contained deep sky objects. I am planning a still more powerful database: the USNO database, with a thousand million stars.



(8) New comets and asteroids databases and VSOP87 theory for planets

            Unzip the files within [RootCNebulaXfolder]\Ephem


            Comets and brief asteroids databases: Download Comets and main asteroids (July 30, 2007)


I have placed updates of the shorter databases installed with the full setup. Since they are not included in the setup already, maybe you want grab them and update thus asteroids and comets with the latest databases. The databases from the link above include 2,388 comets and 13,250 asteroids.


            Full asteroids databases: Download full Asteroids databases #1 and #2 (July 30, 2007)


The ZIP includes two supplementary asteroids databases. Dabase #1 includes 134,344 "numbered" asteroids, that is, with a known orbit and reliable predictions. Dabase #2 includes 206,299"unnumbered" asteroids (less observed and with a less reliable orbit). These databases are in ASCII format and with a decoding header for allowing being easily updated or replaced. The data come from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.


            IMPORTANT - these DBs require a major update and the EXE 1.05.68 or further.




(9) Moon and Pluto files

            Unzip the files within [RootCNebulaXfolder]\Ephem

            Download Moon file (April 2, 2007)

            Download Pluto file (April 1, 2007)


            IMPORTANT - this DB requires the EXE 1.06.02 or further.


Ephemeredes for Pluto are reliable (topocentric values). The Moon, however, still is not fully correct: the application of topocentrical corrections is still partial, although the geocentric position is highly accurate (1 arcsec). See development notes. The standard setup installs the full VSOP87 theory for main planets, with accuracy in the apparent geocentric equatorial coordinates higher than 0.05 arc-seconds, and two other JPL databases for comets and asteroids.



(10) Outlines for deep sky objects: bright and dark nebulae, supernova remnants, Magellanic clouds, star clouds, etc

            Unzip the files within [RootCNebulaXfolder]\Outlines

            Download Outlines file (September 1, 2006)


            IMPORTANT - this DB requires the EXE 1.06.02 or further.


This is a cooperation done with Mark Smedley, from Southafrica, who has done a excellent work. Thanks, Mark!!! See development notes.



(11) Milky Way and Constellation boundaries


            (1) Basic outlines – one light level prepared


            Unzip the files within [RootCNebulaXfolder]

            Download Milky Way profile and constellation boundaries (September 1, 2006)


            IMPORTANT - this DB requires the EXE 1.06.02 or further.



            (2) Extended outlines – five light levels, prepared by Mark Smedley


            Unzip the files within [RootCNebulaXfolder]

            Download the extended Milky Way profile (September 24th, 2007)


            IMPORTANT - this DB requires the EXE 1.07.01 or further.



Constellation boundaries are plotted below 40º zooms. Milky way outlines is again a cooperation done with Mark Smedley. Again, thanks in the name of all CNebulaX users. See development notes.



(12) Orbital elements for visual binary stars

            Unzip the files within [RootCNebulaXfolder]\Ephem

            Download the definitive file with orbital elements of ca 2000 double stars (September 4, 2006)


            IMPORTANT - this DB requires the EXE 1.06.04 or further.


I replaced the provisional DB with the latest release, with an excellent accuracy in RA and DEC In addition, I finished some features, so now Visual Binaries feature can be fully used. See development notes.




WARNING - Please note that these files are only valid for CNebulaX. Former versions of the software, called "Windex" (1.01 and 1.02 rs.) and "SkyIndex" (1.03 rs.) use a database format different to that of CNebulaX (1.04 rs and further), and are superseded by CNebulaX (first final version).




   Update the EXE file

         Replace the CNebulaX EXE file by the newest compiled one



  The final release could still include small bugs and some features can be enhanced of finished. My intention is that these modifications mainly affect the exe file, so you could update your program easily by just overwriting the old CNebulaX.exe file from the standard installation by the newest compiled. However, major updates may be required from time to time, and the EXE works replacing the EXE in the current full installation.




CUMULATIVE UPDATE 1.07.05  (2008/1/7)


It only includes minimal databases and should be

updated with the additional databases in this page




This setup will update your setup replacing old files



Latest compiled EXE 1.07.05 (2008/1/7)


It only includes the latest compiled EXE


Compressed ZIP file with the latest EXE


Be sure you have a complete installation: there are other

critical files only included in the full setup file (left)




Please, report me any problem, doubt or suggestion. Also, have a look to the FAQ section, where some common questions are answered.


Note that updating by EXE overwriting is only possible for CNebulaX: it is not compatible with former releases, and requires installing additional files, besides the EXE update


To top



   Development notes



2008- January - 7  (1.07.05 EXE)  


   Deep sky objects are now filled with semitransparent colors The transparency is increased when the symbol size has been enlarged up to certain level, to prevent that colors disturb us once the object symbol is too large.

   Help slides have been checked by Casey Skelton, who has made a comprehensive revision. In a few time the revised HTML documentation will be linked as well, again thanks to the kind cooperation of Casey Skelton, from Noblesville, USA.

   Comets and asteroids are loaded in the startup, so that these objects are shown as the program is loaded.

   Evolution explorer follows the active comet or minor planet (left click) There is a better coordination of the evolution explorer to make the forecasting of these bodies easier. Left-click on the comet symbol and then the explore button to see how it will evolve. Edition of H and G is also straightforward, and date of the highest brightness within the two years monitoring period is also given.

    Extended searches: searches in the JUMP combo box are extended now to comets, asteroids, named stars, common objects, etc. You can now even type partially names of ant kind of objects: "Baxend" (for Baxendell's nebula), Betelg (for Betelgeuse) (and press ENTER, as usually)

    Double stars are labeled by default with the name

    As usually, small bugs and minor issues have been fixed.




2007- October - 2  (1.07.02 EXE) some small corrections


A new checkbox for forcing monochrome printouts placed in the print dialog. Explore button now centers the selected comet/asteroid in the main map before opening the explore window. A bug that prevented saving accessories list has been fixed.


2007- September - 24  (1.07.01 EXE) New printing system, orbits explorer, quick slide-show help, orbits calculation extended to hyperbolic and quasi-parabolic cases, etc


 (1) Printing system yielding charts similar to the TriAtlas, using a more customizable interface that can be deployed from either the printer icon (Main/View tab) or  the print button in the Edit tab. The quality of printouts, once particularized the settings to your printer, is excellent. Use the Edit tab to specify if you want to print color maps: the printer icon apply the settings in the EDIT tab. The star size, magnitude etc in the Edit tab now affect specifically to clipboard transferences, since the new interface include its own controls.


(2)  new feature  – Comet / Minor Planets EVOLUTION EXPLORER. The Solar System tab has been quite altered. A Mag button for showing the asteroids and comets lists, sorted by increasing magnitude, has been added. This is very helpful to locate the brightest comets and asteroids. There is also another new button, called Explorer, which opens a special window. Note that this is a new feature, still incipient. The Explorer allows:


      2.1. editing orbital elements, testing (press ENTER to apply), and saving them. H and G parameters can be easily altered to recalculate the brightness, which to a certain extent decreases the lack of this data in the JPL comet database. The default H and G values have been altered to pessimistic figures to get more representative generic predictions.

      2.2. listing some quick ephemeredes throughout a year

      2.3. displaying detailed data of the comet or asteroid at a given instant

      2.4. plotting a special map which combines the body magnitude and its position, together with Sun evolution as we move the mouse through the map (see figure)

      2.5. monitoring the evolution of five physical main properties (old "trace" button)

      2.6. plot special horizon maps at the beginning and the end of the astronomical twilight and midnight, which in combination with the other features helps to determine the real difficulty of the observations. Explored dates can be transferred between all these tabs, so it is quite easy explore what would do a comet or an asteroid throughout a long time period.


(3)  new feature  All kind of orbits are now included (elliptical, quasi-parabolic, parabolic and hyperbolic orbits). In former CNebulaX versions, orbits were processed only as parabolic or elliptical cases, which was valid for most interesting comets. However, recent comets with hyperbolic orbits were incorrectly placed in the sky. Even more important: a serious bug was found (and corrected) in the algorithm for parabolic orbits. Results have been contrasted with other software including difficult cases of comets in orbit nature and special time instants.


      I think that with all these changes the predicting system is highly reliable and very useful to explore comets and asteroids. The way of operating comets, asteroids and planets is now much better and easy to work with, especially in what refer to trails. The trace button has been eliminated.


(4)  new feature  New Milky Way multilevel isolines set: A very good contribution prepared by Mark Smedley. This set includes five light levels to represent the Milky Way and it is used in conjunction with the old file, still kept for horizon views. The Milky Way isolines are gradually shown to avoid slowdown excessively the chart plotting. The new file can be downloaded from the complements section above, and should be decompressed and placed in the [RootCnebulaXFolder].


(5)  new feature  – Ephemeredes maker. Feature still incipient. The idea is develop custom tables on astronomical ephemeredes that will be combined with the maps. At the moment it is implemented only some basic calculations. This feature will be considerably enlarged in next updates.,


(6)  RA and DEC labels are plotted in the frame, except in polar views. In addition, coordinate labels are placed surrounding all the borders, and not only two of them.


(7)  Double stars: The catalogues have been reprocessed to reassign the double magnitude/distance code (e.g., 2C, 1D), since some errors have been detected (download the corrected GENERAL and DBLST databases). Stars whose faint component is below the map threshold although the main one is above it are now plotted as a circle with two small side segments and no label (to avoid overcrowding), in the same way as Sky Atlas 2000. Double stars with incomplete information are plotted similarly.


(8)  new feature  – QUICK VISUAL HELP: To help new users (and perhaps old users too), I have included a slide show, which is displayed when the program starts (temporarily). This small presentation calls the attention on some critical points and allows opening the HTML handbook if the user wants to have a more complete help. I hope to include more slides in future updates. I think that most new users will find this information quite helpful to get a better performance of this software. The HTML handbook has been updated to release 1.7.1.


(9)  Modified searches in the Quick Finder: if after pressing ENTER to locate any string in the Quick Finder lists, no coincidence is found, the search is extended to the external databases as if the search was typed in the JUMP combo box.


(10) Default observing list includes Herschel 400, Dyer and Messier objects, highlighted in the main map. However, Southern Sky bright objects are still poorly represented. I need to find a reliable selection of the best southern objects (suggestions are welcome) and mix it with the current one. I find quite convenient having this great selection of bright objects marked and available to display data, maps, and pictures in the observing list viewer. The marker size has been reduced (see the picture below).


(11) Full sky view in horizontal coordinates has been included in the Quick Finder upper tabs (FS tab). The default zooms are now 120, 40, 10, 4 and 1º (customizable, as before),


(12) Some small but important bugs solved. One of them had serious consequences on parabolic orbits. Other affected the calculation of  rise, transit and sets of moving objects.



2007- July-30  (1.06.15 EXE) Some minor bugs corrected


Some minor changes done, but nothing still relevant.



2006- September-22  (1.06.09 EXE) Some minor bugs corrected


Earth-view plots are now (default option) periodically updated, with a frequency of one re-plot by minute. Some bugs in the "Night info" facility have been corrected. Please, report me any bug you could detect. There are too many changes, and testing is required to fix small problems.


2006-September-4 Faster plots. Visual binaries database corrected


(1)  Solar System ephemeredes are updated at a custom rate (default, 2 minutes). This way, one of the most restrictive factors delaying the plots has been removed and the program is now much faster, which allows rebuilding maps more often (panning, repeated zooms, use of cursor keys, etc)

(2)  Visual binaries New catalogue replacing the provisional one has been uploaded. It is also contained in the 1.06.04 update, also uploaded.


2006-September-1 Updated standard setup files. EXE 1.06.02 available and cumulative update 1.06.02 available to download


(1)  More than 200 nebulae outlines done in cooperation with Mark Smedley, from Southafrica. There in 207 files for bright & dark nebulae, supernova remnants, the Magellanic Clouds and some star clouds.

(2)  A local horizon editor: mountains, hills, etc, can be now overlaid. Several local horizons can be stored and loaded.

(3)  Finally, Earth view maps integrated in the main maps. To activate it, just zoom out to a value >150º to switch on it, or click the new tabs at the upper right toolbox (N, E, S, W). In horizontal mode the custom local horizon is also overlaid,

(4)  Observing list can be deployed including special maps and photos. There is an all-sky view and horizontal, ecliptic and galactic views. Also, a feature that I like a lot: a gradual-zoom finding system, with several predefined zooms in consecutive tabs. 

(5)  Default observing list ("program.obs" file) is autoloaded and displayed in the main map and in the new horizon views.

(6)  Visual binaries (orbital double stars) are now available, although I am not satisfied with the catalogue (poor accuracy in RA/DEC values); I will replace it soon.

(7)  Ephemeredes for Pluto and the Moon. The topocentric accuracy for Pluto is highly satisfactory. For the Moon, the geocentric accuracy is of 1 arcsec, but the topocentrical corrections still are not correct, although local situation of the observer is considered.

(8)  A tab with a list of the last visited objects to return to them quickly is situated within the Main tab

(9)  The Milky Way is plotted as outlines

(10) The ecliptic is plotted with Sun tips indicating the situation throughout the year

(12) The galactic equator is plotted with longitude tips

(13) The horizon is plotted with azimuth tips

(14) Constellation boundaries are plotted below a certain magnification

(15) There are now 6 customizable tabs to set user's zoom levels and N, E, W and S Earth-views. Now horizontal maps are easy to switch and very handy.

(16) Cluttering has been decreased: more adaptive rules on the DSO shown, and last shown stars are points, except at high magnifications.

(17) A time picker allows plot the sky at certain instants (twilights, midnight, moon/sun set, rise and transit, etc)


Numerous corrections have been included attending all reports I have received up to the moment, plus all the bugs that I located in the summer testing. Update the associated new files (9-12) to use the new release, or install the new full setup file. Please, report me any problem or doubt. Take into account the high number of changes: testing is needed to fix bugs.




2006-June-29 Updated standard setup files. EXE 1.05.75 available and cumulative update 1.05.75 available to download


For a couple of days I have had problems in the setup. The update is finally ready. Sorry for the inconveniences.


new - Bright / Dark Nebulae outlines - The program now can overlay nebulae profiles. I have only included 25 large winter nebulae and the veil nebulae. My intention is to add more in next updates. The new files are included in the EXE update (it is not necessary reinstalling).


new - Constellation boundaries - Finally, the constellation limits are plotted in the main map. A new default color combination is required to avoid cluttering (go to the Setup/Colors tab and change to the default colors.


new - Milky Way outline - Just a first draft, but this feature will be enhanced soon. At the moment, at least the Milky Way can be barely seen.


new - Eyepiece editor and new eyepiece overlay system - The eyepiece classes are stored now with apparent fields and the combination of eyepiece and focal reducer/extender are chosen from a list in the Quick Finder. Activating any item in the list overlay the eyepiece field, that can be moved with the mouse.




2006-June-6 Updated standard setup files. EXE 1.05.71 available


new - Cumulative update (1.05.71) has been placed in the website - This exe implements all corrections found, related to some failures in the jump combo box and ephemeredes. The DSO finder is by default shown in the startup to help beginners (fold it with the lower [<<] label).


(1) Some Latitude and Longitude settings problems have been corrected. Date and time can be changed now graphically from the Day, Month and Year plots and from the "where" tab. Comets and asteroids are plotted with an auxiliary trail informing of the position occupied 24 hours before. Comets are now plotted wit a core surrounded by activity circles indicating likely CO2 and H2O activity (distance <2.5 and <1.5 AU from the Sun, respectively)


(2) Digital Settings Circles mode - It is in beta testing step, with major improvements still to be done. If you have digital setting circles, install an LX200 emulator and you can use CNebulaX for monitoring telescope position. It is still unfinished and scarcely tested, but it is useable (report me problems and suggestions).




2006-May-22 1.05.68 EXE file


Minor update (1.05.68) - Deployable toolbox with a more finished deep sky objects finder interface, heading to the final interface. The toolbox is now deployable in two nested levels (DSO finder and notebook), accessible from the [>>] symbol at the lower right corner.


(1) The first level displays the DSO and constellations finder (center+frame), some lists of objects lists (Messier+Dyer, Herschel'400, deep sky objects with common names, and stars by common name), and a locator at 5 zoom levels with a tabbed interface (the "where...?" tab)


(2) The second level of deployment is only available at 1024x768 or higher screen resolutions, and by now it give access to the notebook. It includes a new screen mode that docks the main map in a landscape view, quite good for telescope control, like you can see below. I like this screen mode, it is very comfortable with the finder and the annotation facility at hand.



2006-May-14: 1.05.65 EXE, it requires major update 1.05.59

new - Minor update (1.05.65) - Fast deep sky objects finder: two interlinked lists (constellations and object class), that can be used to see the deep sky objects fulfilling the selection. If you have linked images to CNebulaX, single clicking on the found DSOs will show a picture in the viewer and some extra data. Double click on the list will center the map in the selected object, and will set it as the active one.

Finished more corrections to solar system objects - CNebulaX now displays topocentric apparent equatorial coordinates, with an error smaller than 0.05 arc seconds. Minor bodies and comets are now also corrected by the local situation of the observer on the Earth. High accuracy for Moon still is not included, and Pluto is not implemented yet. Satellite ephemeredes are on the way.




new - New setup files (1.05.61) - in English, a self-containing all the auxiliary files in the standard of Visual Studio Windows Installer (MSI files).

new - Major update (1.05.59) - it requires reinstalling the program (overwrite the old installation) - It includes solar system, asteroids and minor planets ephemeredes, including plotting orbital trails. A lot of other changes have been implemented. Some of them are: (1) a new secondary tab series for Solar System ephemeredes, (2) plotting observation lists in the main map, (3) a new notebook area, (4) a jump combo box for quick access to some lists (Herschel 400, Messier, bright stars, best double stars, etc), (5) printing improvements, (6) an expanded handbook, (7) moving the toolbox, (8) saving the INIs, notes, notebook and observation lists in a supervised way, and (9) faster start-up and running.

under development - More work on ephemeredes.




new - print-out facility finally finished, update your EXE file!!!! There was bug hard to trap: (1) failures were apparently unpredictable, (2) I have had to repeat a lot of printings up to catch it, and (3) simple maps were often well printed but complex maps usually failed. It is now fixed, and finally the program is able to print excellent colour or monochrome maps, customisable from the EDIT tab. If you want to have a look to the print-outs, I have copied here a PDF showing the M13 area generated with CNebulaX. I am fully satisfied. There is a preview/draft facility that passes a B/W map to the clipboard as well. There are some other minor bugs fixed, one of them affecting the behaviour of the undocked viewer.

under development - an ephemerid system and databases for calculating and plotting minor planets and comets. The updated exe includes new calculation facilities but they are still inactivated. Be a little patient, it is on the way...




new - overlay external tables (up to develop an ephemerids system); more convenient display of the observation program (list mode) from the Main/Viewer; it now loads the default observation program from the Help icon; new combo box for changing the viewer mode

stars in color - Updated Tycho II database with spectral information has been loaded in the website. The new source is Kharchenko revision, including its extensions. It is compressed in the standard CNebulaX setup file, so to get the new file: (1) download and uncompress the setup zip file, (2) open the cabinet file "CNebulaX.CAB" using winzip or similar, (3) extract CONSTEL.DAT, (4) replace the old CONSTEL.DAT in your old installation with the new one, and (5) replace CNebulaX.exe with the updated exe file

corrections - syncronisation between navigator and main map; faster loading; small bugs in the viewer corrected.




new - Implements access to the new database HyperLEDA. It also includes modified code to show stars in color according to its spectra. Updated Tycho II database still not loaded in the website.