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Stellarium
November 7, 2005 5:32 PM   Subscribe

Stellarium. A free program which renders realistic skies in real time, and more. Handy for anyone who ever wrangled with one of these. And very cool to watch in fast forward.
posted by fire&wings (20 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Neat. I like everything about it except the Star Trek font.
posted by fandango_matt at 5:44 PM on November 7, 2005


Sweet! I recently posted this question to AksMe and got some great lessons. I'm going to love sharing this with the kids. Awesome and thanks.
posted by snsranch at 5:56 PM on November 7, 2005


This is great.
posted by Wolfdog at 6:13 PM on November 7, 2005


Also fun. (Shockwave; click to control speed and direction.)
posted by Wet Spot at 6:32 PM on November 7, 2005


Awesome. Also, wet spot's contribution should be my new screensaver.
posted by fungible at 6:46 PM on November 7, 2005


Thank you!
posted by wilful at 7:03 PM on November 7, 2005


That looks like a great program.
posted by arcticwoman at 7:05 PM on November 7, 2005


wow. thanks for that link. a similar free program is celestia, which is cool because you can actually "go" to all sorts of objects in the observable universe and look back. its mind blowing to zoom out from home and see just how empty space really is.
posted by joeblough at 7:13 PM on November 7, 2005


This is sweet. And I second the recommend for Celestia: also sweet.

Thank you one and all!
posted by selfnoise at 7:28 PM on November 7, 2005


Wow. Thanks, fw.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:48 PM on November 7, 2005


Gorgeous! Really strange when you turn on the constellation art...
posted by brundlefly at 8:19 PM on November 7, 2005


Great link, thanks. Light pollution means that I only get to see the stars about once a year. :(
posted by xthlc at 9:23 PM on November 7, 2005


joeblough, remember that a big reason why so much of space seems to be empty in Celestia is that, the further a dwarf star is from us, the less likely that we actually know of its existence. In other words, if you move 5000 LY out from the Sun in Celestia, space will seem a lot sparser because we just don't know as many stars out there as we do locally.

Celestia is a hell of a lot of fun, though.

I also use KStars and Xephem. KStars has a much prettier interface and seems to have more general-user features, but Xephem prints better and is more specialized.
posted by jiawen at 10:58 PM on November 7, 2005


Entirely kick ass. I've been looking for something exactly like this.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:54 AM on November 8, 2005


May I say that this rocks (very hard). Thanks for the link.

The only thing better would be if it could also drive the stepper motors on a alt-az scope mount or read position from encoders. Point to this (known) star and click, point to that (2nd known) star and click. Bingo - it can now convert any point in the sky with the number of steps needed on the appropriate stepper motor (guess it would also have to know how many steps on the stepper motor it would take to do a 360 in order to calculate the stepper "resolution"). I'd love to be able to drive stepper motors from my powerbook.
posted by spock at 7:22 AM on November 8, 2005


Bill Arnett brings us a list of the many many 'plane arium' apps out there, covering every major OS (and some not so major) as well as apps for handheld devices. Included are links to some web based tools, as well as links to the raw data that powers most of the above mentioned applications. Updated recently, this is the best place to start your search for some great astronomical tools.
posted by gren at 7:22 AM on November 8, 2005


What's fun with these programs is to show someone who believes in the Zodiac what sign the sun was actually in when they were born. Last time I checked, the sun is about a month behind where the zodiac says it should be. Pesky precession of the earth's axis!
posted by Eideteker at 9:15 AM on November 8, 2005


a similar free program is celestia, which is cool because you can actually "go" to all sorts of objects in the observable universe and look back.

I love Celestia, but I have to take it in small doses.

What with all the accidentally flying into the Sun and the moment of shock when you realise you're going so fast that the stars are starting to parallax... apart from a couple of scary films when I was a kid, flying around in Celestia is the only media experience that has literally filled me with terror on more than one occasion.

Highly recommended.
posted by chrismear at 12:37 PM on November 8, 2005


Most excellent linkage. Thank you, fire&wings!
posted by Lynsey at 6:54 PM on November 8, 2005


Quoth spock:
The only thing better would be if it could also drive the stepper motors on a alt-az scope mount or read position from encoders. Point to this (known) star and click, point to that (2nd known) star and click. Bingo - it can now convert any point in the sky with the number of steps needed on the appropriate stepper motor (guess it would also have to know how many steps on the stepper motor it would take to do a 360 in order to calculate the stepper "resolution"). I'd love to be able to drive stepper motors from my powerbook.
I believe that both the programs I linked to, KStars and Xephem, have this ability. I haven't used them, so I don't know how well they work, but there are menu items for interfacing with telescope drives.
posted by jiawen at 9:24 PM on November 8, 2005


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