Stellarium – open source planetarium

Stellarium is a software project that allows people to use their home computer as a virtual planetarium. It calculates the positions of the Sun and Moon, planets and stars, and draws how the sky would look to an observer depending on their location and the time. It can also draw the constellations and simulate astronomical phenomena such as meteor showers, and solar or lunar eclipses.

Stellarium can be used as an educational tool for teaching about the night sky, or as an observational aide for amateur astronomers wishing to plan a night’s observing.

It renders the skies in realtime using OpenGL.

Because of the high quality of the graphics that Stellarium produces, it is used in some real planetarium projector products.

Some amateur astronomy groups use it to create sky maps for describing regions of the sky in articles for newsletters and magazines.

Features include:

Sky

  • Default catalogue of over 600,000 stars from the Hipparcos Catalogue and the Tycho-2 Catalogue.
  • Extra catalogues with more than 177 million stars.
  • Default catalogue of over 80,000 deep-sky objects
  • Asterisms and illustrations of the constellations.
  • Constellations for 20+
  • different cultures.
  • Images of nebulae (full Messier catalogue).
  • Realistic Milky Way.
  • Realistic atmosphere, sunrise and sunset.
  • The planets and their satellites.

Interface

  • A powerful zoom.
  • Time control.
  • Multilingual interface.
  • Scripting to record and play your own shows.
  • Fisheye projection for planetarium domes.
  • Spheric mirror projection for your own dome.
  • Graphical interface and extensive keyboard control.
  • Telescope control.

Visualisation

  • Equatorial and azimuthal grids.
  • Star twinkling.
  • Shooting stars.
  • Eclipse simulation.
  • Tails of comets.
  • Iridium flares simulation.
  • Eclipse simulation.
  • Supernovae and novae simulation.
  • 3D sceneries
  • Skinnable landscapes, now with spheric panorama projection.

Customisability

  • Plugin system adding artifical satellites, ocular simulation, telescope configuration and more.
  • Ability to add new solar system objects from online resources…
  • Add your own deep sky objects, landscapes, constellation images, scripts…

Website: stellarium.org
Support: FAQ, Mailing List, Forum, GitHub, Twitter
Developer: Fabien Chereau, Rob Spearman, Johannes Gajdosik, Johan Meuris, Matthew Gates, Nigel Kerr
License: GNU GPL v2

Stellarium

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

Return to Scientific Home Page | Return to Astronomy Home Page


Ongoing series
Linux for StartersNew to Linux? Read our Linux for Starters series.
Free and Open Source SoftwareThe largest compilation of the best free and open source software in the universe. Supplied with our legendary ratings charts.
Linux ReviewsHundreds of in-depth reviews offering our unbiased and expert opinion on software.
Alternatives to GoogleAlternatives to Google's Products and Services examines your options to migrate from the Google ecosystem with open source Linux alternatives.
MicrosoftAlternatives to Microsoft's Products and Services recommends open source Linux software.
Linux System ToolsEssential Linux system tools looks at small, indispensable utilities, useful for system administrators as well as regular users.
Linux ProductivityLinux utilities to maximise your productivity. Small, indispensable tools, useful for anyone running a Linux machine.
Home Computer EmulatorsHome computers became commonplace in the 1980s. Emulate home computers including the Commodore 64, Amiga, Atari ST, ZX81, Amstrad CPC, and ZX Spectrum.
Now and ThenNow and Then examines how promising open source software fared over the years.
Linux at HomeLinux at Home looks at a range of home activities where Linux can play its part, making the most of our time at home, keeping active and engaged.
Linux CandyLinux Candy opens up to the lighter side of Linux. Have some fun!
Best Free Android AppsBest Free Android Apps. There's a strict eligibility criteria for inclusion in this series
Programming BooksThese best free books accelerate your learning of every programming language
Programming TutorialsThese free tutorials offer the perfect tonic to the free programming books series
Stars and StripesStars and Stripes is an occasional series looking at the impact of Linux in the USA
Share this article

Share your Thoughts

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.