Stellarium

OS: Windows, Linux, Mac Langue: anglais Taille: 3.20 Mo Licence: GPL Version: 0.5.1

After Celestia and Virtual Moon, here goes a third software to discover the night sky.

Stellarium is a planetarium like many others wich permits you to observe the celestial vault related to your geographical position in real time with the planet’s orbits, constellation drawings and some stellar informations. If you ask yourself what’s going on above your head when the night falls, a simple mouse click will tell you.

Stellarium has some limits: its data base is limited only to the 120,000 stars observed by the satellite Hipparcos, and with just 40 objects from the Messier’s catalogue [1]. Other planetariums are more powerful.

But the software has an important advantage: it’s an open source project, and has compiled versions for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux (for Mandrake and Debian distributions).

Using Stellarium is very pleasant, thanks to an intuitive and simple graphic user interface (see screenshot at the end of the official website). Expert users will choose a more efficient tool, because if the software allows you to prepare an observation at night with naked eyes, binoculars or small telescope, it cannot perform very accurate calculations.

However, Stellarium is a good introduction to discover constellations drawings and planet peregrinations.

[1] Messier’s catalogue: international catalogue of deep sky objects, nebulae and stars clusters

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