Bright comets and supernovae missing in Stellarium

  • Anonymous - 2013-02-12

    I wanted to see the impressive Comet Ikeya–Seki, in October 1965 near the Sun, which was said to be about 10 times more brilliant than a full moon, but nothing, no comet in Stellarium (checked date: October 29 1965, just before sunrise, 20 degrees north latitude). Same for the Lovejoy comet. No traces of it in Stellarium.

    I wanted to see the amazingly brilliant SN 1006 supernova on May 1st 1006 in Lupus, at which date it was said that the size of the visual explosion was half that of the moon, and shone so brightly that objects on the ground could be seen at night. Again, Stellarium shows NOTHING of this spectacular object/sky event.

    So my question for Stellarium developers is: are you going to add amazing things like super-bright comets and supernovae? Or, is there a plugin to add to the program, to get these features?

    Thanks a lot!

    • Alexander Wolf

      Alexander Wolf - 2013-02-12


      Peoples, it's really very hard - enable Historical Supernovae plugin and add two comets via Solar System Editor plugin.

  • Anonymous - 2013-02-15

    I can't find C/1965 S1 in MPC format, the only thing I found is the downloadable .dat file from here:

    How to add old comets in Stellarium then please?

  • Kird

    Kird - 2013-02-16
    There are no orbital elements for that comet because there are not enough observations to calculate them. The comet had an orbital period of about 1000 years. An observation interval of 4 months is too short compared to the orbital period.

    You can find orbital elements for C/1965 S1 A and B fragments in the file (

    Last edit: Kird 2013-02-16
  • Bogdan Marinov

    Bogdan Marinov - 2013-02-19

    Apparently, the MPC doesn't list an orbital solution for C/1965 S1. The data is a list of observations.

    Even if you had the orbit, it wouldn't be very impressive - for now, Stellarium renders comets as star-like objects, so you would see a large blob. Comet magnitude calculation is also very simplified, using a two-parameter model.

  • barrykgerdes

    barrykgerdes - 2013-02-19

    If you have the coords of at least three sightings of any comets spaced over a reasonable length of the orbit it is very easy to generate a set of orbital parameters to enter into Stellarium. The accuracy however will diminish rapidly if the period of the sightings is only a small fraction of the orbit.

    To generate the orbital parameters I use a program written in GWBasic converted to Qb64 so it will run on modern computers It is generated from the source code in "Astronomy with your personal computer by Peter Duffet-Smith".


    Last edit: barrykgerdes 2013-02-19
  • Anonymous - 2013-04-13

    Is there a plugin for more then historical supernova ???
    If not how would i go about creating one ??



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