Thursday, June 4, 2015
Stellarium - Astronomy Software
This amazing software is a free open source program that is great for anybody interested in stargazing.
It's a planetarium for your computer. It shows the sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope. If you are interested in learning your way around the sky, learning constellations or how to locate planets at any given date and time of the year at any location on the earth, this is the program.
The download file is executable one (not zipped) and when the program is loading it will automatically detect what the video settings are on your computer are. After it's loaded you and set the display accordingly. Once the program is installed you input your location, latitude and longitude. The easiest way to do that is to go to the NASA latitude/longitude finder. You enter your city and a Google map shows up and you can then fine tune your exact location by zooming in on your house or wherever you are and it will show you the exact location to six decimal points. After you do that you can set the level of detail you want the program to display.
It's photo-realistic which means that if you are using the program in the day, you see is a photograph country horizon with the sun in the correct direction for the time of day. The default setting is looking south but by using the right and left arrows on the keyboard you can move around to look in other directions. There is a clock in the top left of the screen and as the sun moves across the sky, when it gets to the horizon the sky's color gradually changes until it's completely dark and then the stars start to become visible! You can even add twinkle effect if you want! You move a set of cross hairs over an object and click on it and the program tells you what it is. A must have for anybody interested in astronomy, especially those new to the hobby. Download direct from the Website HERE.