The best free planetarium software

In this article, we will provide a list of the best free planetarium software that runs on the Windows operating system. This free software will allow you to view and explore space directly from your computer.

Stargazing programs simulate the sky for your current position and time on Earth. You can also manually select any other location and set the time to the present, past or future to view the corresponding sky map.

Some of these programs will take you to the object you want to view and have a 3D image. This is a kind of 3D planetarium.

With the software, you can see planets, stars, satellites, galaxies, deep sky objects, constellations, nebulae, asteroids, comets and more. These programs are like an open atlas of the vast universe and have information about millions of objects.

While most of these tools allow you to view objects in 3D or as images, some applications only display the position of objects in the sky. Many programs contain detailed information about individual objects: name, magnitude, hour angle, elliptical information, distance from the Sun, distance from the Earth, diameter, phase angle, and so on.

Another cool feature that most of these sky viewers have is animating the movement of objects in the sky in real time or fast-forward.

This software provides navigation tools for viewing the sky and a search tool for finding objects of interest. You will need to enter the name of the object in order for it to be displayed for viewing in the application.

There are many other interesting tools that the listed planetarium software has to offer.

From this article you will learn about what programs are there for observing the Universe – astronomical planetariums. We have brought you some free apps suitable for tracking the starry sky.

Stellarium

Stellarium is an open source planetarium software for Windows, Mac and Linux. With the app, you can look at the sky just as you would with binoculars or a telescope.

This program has a large set of tools and options. The application’s tools help you view stellar and interstellar objects, including satellites, planets, galaxies, constellations, and so on.

After launching the Stellarium program, the application window displays a simple landscape along with the sky. According to your time zone determined via the Internet, the landscape is displayed in day or night mode.

In Day View, the Sun and Moon are only shown when they are in the visible sky. The sky is illuminated at night by the Moon and all visible satellites, planets and stars.

Zoom in on the starry sky with the mouse scroll key to get a telescopic view of the objects you want to view. Click on an object to view its details: name, magnitude, hour angle, elliptical information, distance from the Sun, distance from the Earth, diameter, phase angle, and more.

 

In addition to the program developed for PC, there are additional versions of the application: online planetarium – Stellarium Online and Stellarium Mobile – for mobile devices.

Stellarium tools allow you to perform the necessary actions: pause observation, start fast-forward time, rewind time, jump to a specific time in the future or past, jump to a location to get the appropriate view of the sky, view constellations, view the equatorial grid, view deep objects space and much more.

Celestia

Celestia is a free virtual planetarium. The application allows you to explore the solar system along with the vast expanses of the universe, which includes planets, clusters of stars, galaxies and other deep space objects. All this can be viewed in high resolution or low resolution, which is set manually.

Celestia does not restrict you from viewing celestial objects from Earth. You can travel to a planet, a star, or even another galaxy to see it from a certain distance.

You need to enter the name of the object and indicate the distance from which you want to look at it. You can zoom in to a high level to view the celestial objects of our universe. When viewing an item, information related to it is displayed along with the distance from which you are viewing it, in kilometers or astronomical units.

 

All objects displayed in Celestia move in real time. You can pause time, fast forward time or slow down time, jump to the past or future time to view objects at that moment in time.

In the program, you can take a screenshot or video of your virtual journey through space. If you need to take a journey through the universe, Celestia is up to the task.

Additional components are available for Celestia to increase the capabilities of the application.

Word Wide Telescope

WorldWide Telescope (formerly Microsoft WorldWide Telescope) is visually appealing software with an intuitive interface. The application uses high quality images to display space objects in high resolution.

Using the program’s navigation system, you can easily point to the object you want to view and then zoom in to get closer to it. The advantage of this software is the high definition images and brief information about the objects.

 

In the program, you can look at the Earth, at the sky from the Earth, see the planets and the solar system. According to your choice, the application will automatically move you to the right place. The navigation tool allows you to freely scale and rotate the object you are viewing.

The WordWide Telescope has built-in excursions to some objects, telescopic images, and setting a location on Earth to view the sky from there at any specified time.

The application has a web client for using WorldWide Telescope online from a browser.

Hallo Northern Sky

Hallo Northern Sky is a simple planetarium for Windows and Linux. You can observe the universe from your location. The app has a huge database of millions of stars, galaxies and deep sky objects that you can zoom in on to see.

After turning on the program, the window displays a view of the visible sky with all the stars, planets, galaxies and constellations. The constellations are connected and marked with lines. The sun and planets are also displayed along with their satellites. Scroll the mouse to zoom in to get a telescopic view of the object.

 

The positions of the displayables are displayed relative to the current time and the viewer’s location. You can jump to any point in time in the past as well as 10 years ahead to view the positions of stars, planets or other objects at that time.

winstars

WinStars is astronomical software for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS operating systems. Along with a view of the sky, this planetarium gives you a glimpse of the solar system.

The program will automatically determine your location via the Internet. You can also go to any place on our planet to explore the starry sky from there.

In the interface of the WinStars program, you can selectively highlight, turn on or turn off the names of planets, stars, probes, comets, asteroids and other objects. In addition, you can set the desired time in the past or future to view the corresponding sky.

Zoom in to view objects from the telescope. Some options let you turn on grid lines, a ruler, and an elliptical equator so you can pinpoint the exact object you want. Use the Find Object tool to enter the name of a celestial body to search for.

The Solar System View gives you a view of the Solar System from the Earth’s orbit. You can view the planets, their path, the Sun, other stars and galaxies in the visible part of the Universe.

 

KStars

KStars is an open source celestial planetarium that can run on Windows, macOS and Linux. It allows you to look at the sky and explore it just like you would from Earth.

The KStars program is designed for educational purposes and has a database that includes millions of stars, thousands of deep space objects, the Sun, planets, satellites of the planets of our system. You can either find these objects manually or use the search tool to find them automatically and then zoom in to see them.

 

The app syncs with your location and current time, and then accurately displays the position of objects in the sky. The sky moves in sync with the current time; however, you can pause time or jump to the future or past to view the corresponding sky. You can also fast-forward time to reproduce the movement of the stars and planets.

SkyChart (Cartes du Ciel)

SkyChart (Cartes du Ciel) is an open source planetarium for Windows, Linux and macOS that also allows you to create sky charts. The program can be used to observe the sky from any place on Earth at the current time, in the past or in the future.

The application is available to view millions of stars, galaxies, constellations, deep space objects and planets of our solar system. Objects can be viewed as they appear using a variety of telescopes. You can choose from a list of telescopes or even a manually adjustable telescope where you can define various parameters yourself.

You can open multiple star charts in tabs and set up the layout to view two different charts at the same time. The tools for viewing the sky map in this software are almost the same as in any similar virtual planetarium.

Article Conclusions

If you need a program for virtual space, you can use free programs that act as planetariums. As you travel through the solar system, the planetarium will display visible celestial objects. Using the tools in the applications, you can observe various objects in outer space: planets, stars, galaxies, constellations, comets, and so on, in real time or at another specified time.

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