Stellarium – virtual planetarium on the computer
Stellarium is a free program for observing the sky, it is a computer virtual planetarium for astronomy lovers. Stellarium displays the sky in 3D, as it is visible to the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope from a specific point on Earth or from the planets of the solar system.
In the modern world, especially for residents of large cities, it is not always possible to see the starry sky that is not covered by buildings or the surrounding landscape. The Stellarium program will replace an amateur telescope for observing space objects from a computer screen.
- Virtual Planetarium Stellarium
- Watching the starry sky in Stellarium
- Stellarium Online
- Stellarium Mobile – planetarium on your phone or tablet
- Article Conclusions
The project has been developed since 2000, during which time more than 20 million users have used it. The astronomy program Stellarium provides accurate modeling of the starry sky based on a huge number of photographs, images and catalogs of celestial objects.
Virtual Planetarium Stellarium
Thanks to Stellarium, the user will see an astronomical map of the starry sky on their PC, with a realistic display of stars and planets.
The Stellarium planetarium has the following features:
- The main catalog of over 600,000 stars.
- Additional catalog with 177 billion stars (optional).
- Main catalog with 80,000 space objects.
- Additional catalog of more than 1,000,000 deep sky objects (optional).
- Photographs of star clusters and constellations.
- Catalog of stellar nebulae.
- A display of our Milky Way galaxy.
- Display of sunrises, sunsets, the earth’s atmosphere from the observation point.
- Equatorial and azimuthal grids.
- Display twinkling stars.
- Setting the time (past, current or future).
- Remove or zoom in on objects.
- Support for plugins to expand the program’s capabilities.
The Stellarium program works in Russian. The user needs to go to the official website stellarium.org in order to download the Stellarium planetarium. Here are the versions of the program for operating systems: Windows (32-bit and 64-bit), Linux, macOS, online version of Stellarium Web.
Click on the icon with the bitness of the corresponding operating system to download the Stellarium program to your computer. In our case, we will download Stellarium for Windows, according to the bitness of this PC.
Watching the starry sky in Stellarium
When you first start the Stellarium program, the PC screen displays a glade corresponding to the season, with a starry sky in real time. If it is daytime, then you will not see stars here, but only the solar disk in the sky. However, in the application, you can speed up time or look at the sky as it was, for example, last night.
By default, the Stellarium window opens with a view of the starry sky at the current time, displayed from one rural locality in France – the homeland of the author of the program.
You need to choose your location. You can do this in the following way:
- Move the mouse cursor to the lower left edge of the program window.
- A triangular-shaped control panel will open with various Stellarium settings.
- Click on the top “Location Window” icon (alternatively, press the “F6” key), and then select your option.
The control panel contains buttons for controlling the program functions, from here you can enter the application settings.
Select the type of program, the order of astronomical calculations, eyepieces and other functions.
The necessary actions in Stellarium are quickly performed using the keyboard keys. Hot key combinations are listed in the Help window, which is called up by pressing the F1 key.
In order not to search for the necessary stars, planets or constellations in outer space for a long time, use the built-in search services. Calling the window for searching for celestial bodies is carried out using the “F3” key. Enter the name of the object or its location, search the list.
To display objects from the Messier catalog, you must use the Latin alphabet. For example, to look at the Andromeda Galaxy (Andromeda Nebula), you need to enter the name of the object in English “M 31” into the search box.
The upper left part of the screen displays detailed information about the selected object: absolute magnitude, distance to the Earth, spectral class, and more.
Stellarium has the ability to enable the display of constellations in the starry sky in different views. For example, show images in a similar way, or display only constellation lines.
Approach or removal of space objects in the Stellarium program window is carried out using the mouse wheel.
If you select a planet of the solar system for observation, and then zoom in, the celestial object will begin to move in the program window in real time, and quickly disappear from view. To keep track of the selected object, press the space bar.
You may also be interested in:
- Celestia – Journey Through the 3D Universe
- Microsoft WorldWide Telescope – Virtual Universe Simulator
The plugin settings are located in the upper right corner of the Stellarium program window. Here you can choose eyepieces, lenses, sensors, telescopes.
Use the control panel buttons to select other options: turn on the equatorial or azimuth grid, change the course of time, turn on or off other application options.
In the online version of Stellarium Web, the user can observe outer space from a browser, without using a program installed on a PC.
Stellarium online works in English and has reduced features compared to the Stellarium program.
Also Read: Best Free Planetarium Software
Stellarium Mobile – planetarium on your phone or tablet
If you want to see the starry sky on your smartphone or tablet, you need to download Stellarium for Android or iOS for your mobile device. Stellarium for Android as well as for iOS has been ported to mobile devices running Android or iOS operating systems.
To use the app on Android devices, you will need to go to the Google Play Store and then download Stellarium Planetarium (Stellarium Mobile) or Stellarium Mobile Plus – Sky Map. Both applications are paid from the same developer (Stellarium Labs by Noctua Software) associated with the free Stellarium project.
In the free Stellarium program, users interested in astronomy can observe the starry sky in real time from the current or selected location. Stellarium has catalogs with a large number of stellar objects available to users in the program, the online web version, and in the application for mobile devices.