Stellarium renders 3D photo-realistic skies in real time with OpenGL. It displays stars, constellations, planets, nebulae and others things like ground, landscape, atmosphere, etc.
- Realistic simulation of the sky, sunrise and sunset
- Default catalogue of over 600,000 stars
- Downloadable additional catalogues for up to 210 million stars
- Catalog data for all New General Catalogue (NGC) objects
- Images of almost all Messier objects and the Milky Way
- Artistic illustrations for all 88 modern constellations
- More than a dozen different cultures with their constellations
- Solar and lunar eclipse simulation
- Photorealistic landscapes (more are available on the website)
- Scripting support with ECMAScript (a few demo scripts are included)
- Extendable with plug-ins: 8 plug-ins installed by default, including:
- artificial satellites plug-in (updated from an on-line TLE database)
- ocular simulation plug-in (shows how objects look like in a given ocular)
- Solar System editor plug-in (imports comet and asteroid data from the MPC)
- telescope control plug-in (Meade LX200 and Celestron NexStar compatible)
Super helpful before star gazing
Love how this has evolved into such a versatile and feature rich program With both 32 bit and 64 bit support, just love it. Download button is for 64 bit but "Browse All Files" Link under button will get you to 32 bit :-)
i first used this program several years ago and i just installed it on a new computer after not using it for a while. this is such an amazing program! i find it so easy to use, it has a great user interface, and so comprehensive in its features. and it's free!!! the only thing i've found that could be improved (i'm not astronomer) was setting your current location. if there was a way pan/zoom on the map (link it to open maps or google maps) so you could select your position, that would be great. in the meantime, i'll cut/paste lat/lon from google earth. donation made; keep up the great work.
Incredible software with one serious drawback: It needs text entry, search, map zoom, etc. on specifying viewing locations. It takes way too long to scroll down to "United States of America", for example. The location map is almost uselessly small and needs zoom/select capability. I apologize if these functions are already user-selectable and I haven't learned how to change them, but it's not for lack of looking through the Settings options; I just don't see it yet.