KStars – desktop planetarium for KDE

KStars is an open source desktop planetarium for KDE.

It depicts an accurate simulation of the night sky, including stars, constellations, star clusters, nebulae, galaxies, all 8 planets, the Sun, the Moon, comets and asteroids. You can see the sky as it appears from any location on Earth, on any date.

The user interface is highly intuitive and flexible. The display can be panned and zoomed with the mouse, and you can easily identify objects and track their motion across the sky. KStars includes many powerful features, yet the interface is clean and simple and fun to use.

Features include:

  • 130,000 stars to 9th magnitude.
  • 13,000 deep-sky objects (Messier, NGC, and IC catalogs).
  • Milky Way.
  • 88 constellations.
  • Guide lines such as the celestial equator, the horizon and the ecliptic.
  • Control telescopes and cameras, using the elegant and powerful INDI protocol:
    • Supports several popular telescopes including Meade’s LX200 family and Celestron GPS.
    • CCD cameras, webcams, and computerized focusers.
  • Interface to a number of tools with which you can learn more about astronomy and the night sky:
    • Astrocalculator tool provides direct access to many of the algorithms the program uses behind the scenes, including coordinate converters and time calculators.
    • AAVSO Lightcurve Generator tool will download a lightcurve for any of the 6000+ variable stars monitored by the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO).
    • Plan an observing session using our Altitude vs. Time tool, which will plot curves representing the Altitude as a function of time for any group of objects.
    • What’s Up Tonight? tool that summarizes the objects that.
      you will be able to see from your location on any given night.
    • Solar System Viewer, which shows the current configuration of the major planets in our solar system.
    • Jupiter Moons Tool which shows the positions of Jupiter’s four largest moons as a function of time.
  • Context-sensitive popup menu.
  • Provides an observation planner, a sky calendar tool, and an FOV editor to calculate field of view of equipment and display them
  • Supports adjustable simulation speeds in order to view phenomena that happen over long timescales.
  • KStars Astrocalculator to predict conjunctions.

Website: edu.kde.org/kstars
Support: KStars Handbook
Developer: Jason Harris, Heiko Evermann, Thomas Kabelmann, Pablo de Vicente, Jasem Mutlaq, Mark Hollomon
License: GNU GPL v2


KStars is written in C++. Learn C++ with our recommended free books and free tutorials.

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