Celestia: A free real time space simulation
February 4, 2003 10:23 AM   Subscribe

Celestia is the most beautiful toy. It's a free (open source) simulator of the universe, including breathtaking models of known planets. Watch Jupiter rise over Io or follow the course of a solar eclipse. [more inside]
posted by grahamwell (21 comments total)
The main download is about 11 Mb for Windows (link above). There's an active development community here. An enlarged star database is here (warning: this will slow loading time). Other add-ons, including some beautiful imaginary solar systems are here. If you have 15Gb of free space, Marc Griffith is working on an add-on which will turn Celestia into an 'Elite' type game, more details at Mostly Harmless which includes a fractal planet generator to populate the entire galaxy.
posted by grahamwell at 10:34 AM on February 4, 2003

Great links grahamwell, I just downloaded Celestia the other day and was really really impressed, but I never looked further so never knew about the add-ons. Fantastic for folks who love space!
posted by chrid at 11:02 AM on February 4, 2003

This link is good too. I recommend the imaginary system right at the bottom (18sc0.zip) - he's right, it's a triumph of the imagination. If you want to see the "rest of the universe" - the galaxies and clusters in the local group, use the data file here.
posted by grahamwell at 11:15 AM on February 4, 2003

NASA have a great simulator of the solar system too.....
posted by edh at 11:17 AM on February 4, 2003

I've been recently playing around with Terragen, a fractal landscape generator which is quite easy to use for a beginner like myself. It has a wide following as well. And, although its is mostly used to generate static pictures, the community has started using it to generate planets and fly-overs.

Perhaps the two can converge?
posted by vacapinta at 11:24 AM on February 4, 2003

[all links = this is doubleplusgood]

Thanks everyone!
posted by WolfDaddy at 11:43 AM on February 4, 2003

Way back in the time of Windows 3.1 (you kids may not remember...) I had a program called VistaPro that would use USGS DEM files to render 3D landscapes.

Great program. That Terragen reminded me of it but I liked Vistapro because it would render actual places.
posted by bondcliff at 11:45 AM on February 4, 2003

bondcliff, VistaPro is still out there, though I haven't used it for awhile. The publisher claims it is XP compatible. I think I'll fire it up tonight and see how screaming fast it is these days, it used to take forEVER on my Pentium 60, especially when drawing trees. :-)

Also, VistaPro is apparently Arthur C. Clarke Approved.
posted by WolfDaddy at 11:54 AM on February 4, 2003

Thanks, wolfdaddy. I just did a google search and found the same site. They never really did much with it. Such a shame, it had some great potential.

I remember trying to render animations on my P-90. I'd leave it running all night and hope I had a movie by morning. I'd imagine they could make it real time these days.
posted by bondcliff at 11:58 AM on February 4, 2003

curse my dialup! thanks in anticipation
posted by gravelshoes at 12:12 PM on February 4, 2003

If, like me, you find that the latest version of Celestia does nothing but fall down and writhe on the floor as soon as it's started (due to a bug introduced in 1.2.5), you may want one of the previous versions from the archives. 1.2.4 apparently works where 1.2.5 doesn't -- something about OpenGL driver compatibility in the 3ds model loading code, for the curious.
posted by majick at 1:08 PM on February 4, 2003

Version 1.2.5 crashes almost immediately on my normally very stable work PC running Win2K SP3. I guess I'll try 1.2.4.
posted by Blubble at 2:08 PM on February 4, 2003

Blubble, you may need to upgrade your video drivers. I couldn't run 1.2.5 because I was using the "Microsoft Certified" XP driver for my card ... which--fancy that!--didn't have OpenGL support.

The manufacturer-supplied driver did the trick, though 1.2.4 still runs noticeably faster on my rig.
posted by WolfDaddy at 2:31 PM on February 4, 2003

wow, great post. [golf clap]

seriously... i was using worldmap3d before, and uh.. quite frankly it blows ass in comparison.
posted by shadow45 at 3:05 PM on February 4, 2003


here's another pretty toy (download GSPlanet) from the shatters.net forum
posted by gravelshoes at 3:06 PM on February 4, 2003

I've heard very good things about Partiview, but my friend at the American Museum of Natural History says that the MacOS X version will be a long time coming. Oh well.
posted by tss at 4:23 PM on February 4, 2003

I remember playing MS Space simulator years ago... but all I used it for was for the ability to view the planets from odd perspectives...

You could crank the speed of time to over a million years a second too...

It was alot like Celestia, but you could fly around in spaceships, basically...
posted by LoopSouth at 4:31 PM on February 4, 2003

Very ... slow ... download ...
posted by mcwetboy at 4:54 PM on February 4, 2003

Thank you... thank you... thank you...
posted by botono9 at 9:10 PM on February 4, 2003

MojoWorld, a commercial planet generator product, is also worth a glance.
posted by raygirvan at 8:46 AM on February 5, 2003

Sounds gorgeous. I'm glad Anne is finally getting her due credit.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 10:09 AM on February 5, 2003

« Older Baked Apple   |   pop music, 30 years ago Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments