Re: Uploading a new sky culture.

  • Cameron Lapworth

    First great program to any of you who have contributed or made Stellarium, it's much appreciated I'm using this to help teach astronomy (I'm a high school science teacher in Queensland Australia).

    I teach an integrated (teaching across subject areas eg. maths, english, science, art etc.) gifted and talented class. Our goal is to use projects to teach at a deeper level than normal curriculum so we work on projects that help the public in some way. A couple of years ago my students made some small telescopes and a 10 Dobson for running astronomy nights for local schools.

    I was looking at Stellarium at the sky art and thought it would be good for our students to run a project researching Aboriginal astronomy, symbols and myths and create a traditional Aboriginal Sky Culture to cover at least some of the Aboriginal legends in relation to constellations etc.

    I'm not a programmer but I've had a play and have worked out how to change Western Sky Culture images and replace them with my own and how to modify the .fab consellation names file. So I know I can change at least my school computers file.

    Assuming I'm using a current sky culture as a kind of template or short cut my plan would be to work of these kind of back track and just replace any unwanted constellation images with black (transparent). and leave unwanted names blank. But I have a few additional questions if anyone can help.

    1. How can I create a new folder so I can preserve the original folder say (western sky culture) and get Stellarium to display Abroiginal Sky culture as a option (point to it)?

    2. How do I upload the sky culture to the community when complete? And is this downloaded then from that site or do you just provide a link for upload?

    3. How do I upload additional text information and any additional files for distribution (I'm thinking if I can organise for some Aboriginal Elders to tell some stories about the sky art included in say MP3 format), links to other sites for references?

    Thanks a lot for any help.

    Cameron Lapworth

    • Cameron Lapworth

      Hi Matthew,
      Thanks for the prompt reply. I think I understand most of what I have to do based on your reply I'll have a play today and experiment with what you've told me.

      Thanks again I'll be in touch through out the next school year as we progress.


    • Anonymous - 2015-06-30

      Hi Cameron

      I would be extremely interested to have an Aboriginal culture star/constellation/dark spaces (coalsack) layer.
      I am studying various sites around Australia and their potential alignments as a white fella. From my contacts within the Original community it appears that the knowledge, or at least some of it, of their cultural associations with stars and star beings is slowly being shared with those open hearted enough to respect and listen. This post is a long time ago - did you get anywhere with it?

      Many Thanks Erik

    • Matthew Gates

      Matthew Gates - 2008-12-21

      Hello Cameron.

      It sounds like a nice project. I don't know anything about the details of an aboriginal sky culture, but I would very much like to see one made available to the wider Stellarium user community.

      I would imagine that any constellations in such a sky culture would be quite different to the Western, or other sky cultures, and so I would recommend starting from scratch rather than copying Western and blanking out the constellation art images. As such, you would probably do better to have a look at one of the cultures which does not presently have any constellation art, e.g. Norse.

      All you need to do to create a new culture is to make a directory for it in the skcultures directory, and have the various required files present in that directory. You can edit them with a simple text editor - no special tools are needed, and you do not need to change the code of the program at all or re-build it.

      If you wish (if would be my preferred method), you can do all of this in the <User Data Directory> instead of working where Stellarium itself is installed:

      i) Create a new directory called:
      <user data directory>/skycultures

      ii) Create a new directory inside this for your sky culture:
      <user data directory>/skycultures/aboriginal

      iii) Copy the file from the Norse culture to your new directory (constellation_names.eng.fab, constellationship.fab, description.en.utf8, info.ini star_names.fab)

      iv) Edit info.ini with a text editor, changing the name and author settings as appropriate

      v) Edit the other files to make the constellations.

      In answer to your specific points:
      1. Already answered above
      2. There is no formal procedure, although we are talking at the moment about a mechanism for packaging extensions. I would recommend doing the following:
      i) Once you have created and tested the new sky culture, packaging it up inside a .zip file. The file should contain the directory structure such that is may be unzipped in the <user data directory> to install it. i.e. the contents of the zip file should look something like this:


      You can upload that file to whatever hosting service you want (or you can send it to me and I can put it on my site), and create a wiki page for it with a download link.

      1. Sky cultures within the program do not have audio capabilities, but you can upload media files to some place on the net, and put links in the wiki and/or the description.en.utf8 file (which is what appears in the starlore tab of the view dialog).


  • Mircea Lite

    Mircea Lite - 2011-11-23


    My name is Mircea Lite, and I am working at Baia Mare Planetarium, Romania,
    It is a public institution, runs an optical-mecanical Carl Zeiss ZKP1
    projector - since 1969 - and it was the first Planetarium in Romania. Recently
    we use in addition a videoprojector (on our dome's surface) and a laptop
    running Stellarium to complete and improve our usual presentations .

    In our quest for better aproach,we are applying for a grant from National
    Cultural Fund Authority - a project with the theme 'Traditional Romanian
    Constellations`(TRC). We intend to research symbols and myths linked to the
    most relevant Romanain ”constellations” and prepare at least 9 scripts about
    individual TRC, that will be displayed on a 9 large TV screens exhibition
    (audio included on headsets). These 9 scripts will form in the end a single
    larger script about Romanian traditional sky culture.

    One programming company is involved, also ethnography researchers and art
    designers for Romanian Traditional Sky Culture images .
    If granted, we will know after 15 march 2012. Until then, in about 1 month we
    will have a ”demo” script

    Having these in mind we have 3 May's :
    1. May we use Stellarium for this?
    2.May we disseminate the results of this project (scripts, TRC) trough
    Stellarium (e.g. uploading Romanian Stellar Mythology)?
    3. May we ask for help if needed?

    Thank you for Stellarium and for any help available

    Mircea Lite

  • Alexander Wolf

    Alexander Wolf - 2011-11-24

    Hi, Mircea Lite!

    1. May we use Stellarium for this?

    Do you mean "may" as technical question or as rights question?

    1. May we disseminate the results of this project (scripts, TRC) trough
      Stellarium (e.g. uploading Romanian Stellar Mythology)?

    Yes, if you published your results under copyleft license. About technical
    questions you can ask me (for example).

    1. May we ask for help if needed?


  • Mircea Lite

    Mircea Lite - 2011-11-24

    Hi Alexvwolf,

    Thank you for your fast answer.
    The first question is about the rights to use Stellarium in this project.
    And of course we intend to publish our results under copyleft license.
    I'm sure I'll come back with other questions soon.

    Many thanks,

    Mircea Lite

  • Alexander Wolf

    Alexander Wolf - 2011-11-24

    Yes, you can used Stellarium

  • Bogdan Marinov

    Bogdan Marinov - 2011-11-24
    1. May we use Stellarium for this?

    Yes. Stellarium is free/open-source software licensed under the GNU General
    Public License (version 2 or any
    . This allows public use
    without the explicit permission of the author(s), as long as the appropriate
    credit is given.

    I don't know how suitable for the task will be Stellarium, though. In recent
    versions, it has been mostly targeted at desktop users. There is a
    fork of an
    older version called Nightshade that is
    developed specifically for planetariums. You may want to look into that.

    2.May we disseminate the results of this project (scripts, TRC) trough
    Stellarium (e.g. uploading Romanian Stellar Mythology)?

    If by "uploading" you mean adding the sky-culture (constellations,
    constellation art, etc.) and the scripts to Stellarium's main distribution,
    then... it depends.

    Adding the sky-culture would be the least controversial - we've added user-
    submitted sky-cultures before. It's mostly a community decision. The only
    requirement is that it is released under the same free license as Stellarium
    or a compatible free content license (or just release it into the public
    ). Note that this
    requires the legal agreement of all content authors
    , or the copyright
    holders if they are not the same people. (Depending on the exact contract
    relationships, if this is a "work for hire", the copyright owner may be the
    contractor, not the author - check your local laws.) All the authors need to
    understand the implications of using the GNU GPL, including the fact that it
    allows commercial redistribution. We don't want to get sued, or to have to
    retract a Stellarium release (and after something is released, it's impossible
    for it to be contained).

    The same, of course, applies for any scripts or other material. With the
    scripts, there is the additional issue that the handful of example scripts
    that come with Stellarium are intended only as a demonstration of the system,
    not a full library. So adding sky-culture specific scripts would not be very

    If this is a problem, another way of distribution is to create an installable
    package with your sky-culture and script and offer it for download on your
    website. This way, you can distribute it under whatever copyright terms you
    want. It's relatively easy to do - you need only the files that need to be
    installed and a small script/project file for Inno
    or some other program for
    creating installation files.

    1. May we ask for help if needed?

    Yes, you can ask for information if something is unclear. Please be patient,
    though - the majority of Stellarium's developer team are rather busy at the
    moment with things other than Stellarium, and those who work on it are working
    on their own tasks.

  • Rob Spearman

    Rob Spearman - 2011-12-01

    Speaking for the Nightshade team we're happy to help out as well if you need
    any assisstance and we would be happy to include your culture in Nightshade
    releases. I believe we have somewhere around 400 or so planetarium domes
    around the world driven by Nightshade. Sky cultures are fairly easy to share
    between Stellarium and Nightshade.


  • Mircea Lite

    Mircea Lite - 2011-12-15

    Hi daggerstab,

    First of all, your answer was as precise and to the point as a ”dagger” should
    ”stab ”.
    You completely answered to all my posed and unposed questions. Also I
    appreciate that you realised WHY I needed that 3 answers for.
    Today was our grant application`s deadline. I managed to submit it in due
    time. First yes/no answer comes in February 28. If the answer is NO, we intend
    to do it anyway, so we will do it and make it available as adviced by you.
    Everything beeing clear for us for the moment, please excuse us for our late
    thanks for your help and be sure we will keep you informed.

    Many thanks again,

    Mircea Lite

  • Mircea Lite

    Mircea Lite - 2011-12-15

    Hi Rob,

    Sorry for the late answer and thank you for outstreching your helping hand. I
    m more than happy to get any help I need in order to do a good work, so be sure I will bother you as soon as Ill advance with my project. We would be
    very proud to offer the results of our project - scripts and/or sky culture -
    using GNU GPL , both to Stellarium and Nightshade. At present I have some demo
    work ready that accompanied our grant application, so if you want to see it
    and get an idea about it just let me now how.

    Until next time, thank you and the Nightshade team for your kindness.

    Mircea Lite

  • Mircea Lite

    Mircea Lite - 2012-02-28

    Project granted.

    Mircea Lite

  • Mircea Lite

    Mircea Lite - 2012-10-04

    Hi daggerstab and digitalises
    TRC ready. We have installation tutorial(video) and download here:

    Hope it is OK. English version coming up.(2-3 days).
    We are the copyright holders and we want to submit it under GNU GPL license.

    Can you tell us how to do it?

    Thank you,
    Mircea Lite

  • Alexander Wolf

    Alexander Wolf - 2012-10-05

    Very nice work, thanks!

    But if "Romanesc" sky culture contains only 9 constellation then you should
    delete all other western constellation from constellation_names.eng.fab file.

    The copyright holders and license you can write into description.en.utf8 and
    info.ini files (author and license keys).

  • Mircea Lite

    Mircea Lite - 2012-10-05

    Thank you, Alexwolf!

    In fact Romanian sky culture contains 39 constellations, we choosed the 9 more
    representative(from our point of view) at this stage of the project. We intend
    to have all of them with names and lines(but not drawings), posted and
    available in a few days(in both Romanian and English). Also audio in Romanian
    and transcript in English for the 9 ones will be available.

    Thank you very much for your help and support, and very glad you enjoyied our
    work. Please tell me if you think of anything else we did wrong, or not

    Thanks agaian!

    Clear and dark skies,
    Mircea Lite

  • Mircea Lite

    Mircea Lite - 2013-10-01

    Hello Alexander Wolf,

    We were granted another project on Traditional Romanian Constellations, and will finish the complete traditional romanian constellations package (starlore package for Stellarium, Stellarium scripts for all 39 romanian constellations, short movies made from scripts, general description, script and movie, both in romanian and english. Project will end on 15 of November, and than all information will be available to the public, on an open source basis.

    Here is an example of short movie made out of a Stellarium script, and translated into English (Pegasus & Andromeda)

    Hope you can help us with distributing the results of this project under open source license, as soon as its finished.

    Best regards ,

    Mircea Lite

  • Alexander Wolf

    Alexander Wolf - 2013-10-03

    Sorry for late answer.

    Of course I can help you with distributing the results of this project under open source license, as soon as them will be finished :)



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