Stellarium is a free (and open source) planetarium program for Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows which uses OpenGL to render the sky. Unlike competing commercial software, Stellarium is extremely simple and easy to use – no manual required.It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope.It is being used in planetarium projectors. Just set your coordinates and go.
If you want a computer planetarium program with realism, either for teaching or planning your own observing sessions, you should investigate Stellarium.
Even if you have access to commercial software such as Starry Night, you may well find yourself preferring Stellarium; it’s quick, simple, and easy to use. It includes a default catalog with more than 600,000 stars, images of nebulae, a realistic Milky Way, as well as planets and their satellites
You can click on each object to view the name, distance and other details and also zoom in for a closer look. The program can show the sky based on your current geographical location or any other place on earth. It also allows you to simulate movements by going back and forth in time at different speeds.
How to use ?
Set your location using the map, then drag the sky around using your mouse. A toolbar along the bottom lets you toggle displays such as ground, constellations , atmosphere, nebulae, and more. Simple to use time controls enable play, fast forward, rewind, and return to current time. Some nice touches including random meteors and twinkling stars are also included
Stellarium gives a good view of what the sky would look like from pretty much anywhere on Earth at any time over a wide range of dates. If you want to know what stars and constellations are which, if you are an amateur planning an observing session, or you have any other need for a basic planetarium software, then this seems good.
Stellarium does a very good job simulating the effects of the atmosphere, it computes the positions of the planets and their moons, and it shows constellations and asterisms. It is open source software, so you can easily customize it to your own needs. It isn’t perfect, but it is good.
Some of the Main Features:
* default catalogue of over 600,000 stars
* extra catalogues with more than 210 million stars
* asterisms and illustrations of the constellations
* constellations for ten different cultures
* images of nebulae (full Messier catalogue)
* realistic Milky Way
* very realistic atmosphere, sunrise and sunset
* the planets and their satellites
* 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
* equatorial and azimuthal grids
* star twinkling
* shooting stars
* eclipse simulation
* skinnable landscapes, now with spheric panorama projection
* add your own deep sky objects, landscapes, constellation images, scripts…
Other features include very realistic atmosphere, sunrise and sunset simulations, star twinkling effects ans shooting stars, skinnable landscapes, constellations for eleven different cultures, night vision mode and more.
Download: Stellarium o.10.2
Official Website: Stellarium.org