Kstars – HiPS DSS2 Offline Overlay

Some will know that with Kstars you can enable the HiPS Overlay to see a realtime representation of the sky. This has worked by querying online servers for sky image data, and usually this is the DSS2 (Deep Sky Survey) Color data.

Unfortunately until now, for this to work you will have needed to have Kstars with Internet access, although it did have some functionality to “cache” a certain amount of sky data.

As of version 3.5.9 of Kstars, it can now utilise DSS2 data offline, under UNIX this is from the /usr/share/kstars/HIPS folder.

The data you need is of varying resolution, with each order doubling the resolution (halving the pixel size).

HIPS OrderNumber of Tiles (~100KB each)Tile angular sizeTile pixel angular size
HiPS Norder angular sizes

Now, you may ask, how do you obtain the DSS2 files to populate in this folder?

I have created 4 torrents, one for HiPS Order 1-4, one each for HiPS Order 5, 6 and 7. You will notice that these increase in size by a factor of 4, with Order 5 being 845 Megabytes, and Order 7 being 17.70 Gigabytes.

Here are the torrents:





I would ask that if you download these that you assist with the seeding of them once they have been downloaded. Kstars is a small community and doesn’t have the resources to host these files anywhere else at present.

If you come looking for these files in the future, and the torrents appear to have died then message me and we can look to resurrecting them again.

The Digitized Sky Surveys were produced at the Space Telescope Science Institute under U.S. Government grant NAG W-2166. The images of these surveys are based on photographic data obtained using the Oschin Schmidt Telescope on Palomar Mountain and the UK Schmidt Telescope. The plates were processed into the present compressed digital form with the permission of these institutions.

The National Geographic Society – Palomar Observatory Sky Atlas (POSS-I) was made by the California Institute of Technology with grants from the National Geographic Society.

The Second Palomar Observatory Sky Survey (POSS-II) was made by the California Institute of Technology with funds from the National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society, the Sloan Foundation, the Samuel Oschin Foundation, and the Eastman Kodak Corporation.

The Oschin Schmidt Telescope is operated by the California Institute of Technology and Palomar Observatory.

The UK Schmidt Telescope was operated by the Royal Observatory Edinburgh, with funding from the UK Science and Engineering Research Council (later the UK Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council), until 1988 June, and thereafter by the Anglo-Australian Observatory. The blue plates of the southern Sky Atlas and its Equatorial Extension (together known as the SERC-J), as well as the Equatorial Red (ER), and the Second Epoch [red] Survey (SES) were all taken with the UK Schmidt.

All data are subject to the copyright given in the copyright summary. Copyright information specific to individual plates is provided in the downloaded FITS headers.

Supplemental funding for sky-survey work at the ST ScI is provided by the European Southern Observatory.

Scientists and educators conducting research, teaching, or other non-profit activities may use data from the copyrighted collections freely and without restriction, other than that users are requested to acknowledge the source of the data in any publications resulting from that use.

Commercial, for-profit use of the copyrighted collections is prohibited without written permission from the copyright holder(s). Contact archive@stsci.edu for details.

16 thoughts on “Kstars – HiPS DSS2 Offline Overlay

  1. Divye

    So to use the HiPS overlay offline with Astroberry, does one put these files on the local memory (say local SSD) in the following folder?
    /usr/share/kstars/HIPS folder


      1. Phillip

        Great thanks. Have downloaded all nearly. Doing 7 now but 6 hasnt started yet . Great idea and thanks for the support.

  2. Bernd

    Hi Giles,

    just read the HIPS thread on Indi forum. I already have Norder1-5 and would kindly ask if you could re-seed the torrents for Norder6 and 7? Of course I will seed as well is someone asks.

    Thx and Regards


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