It’s a summer, autumn, winter or spring night, it doesn’t matter. The sky is clear. You lie down on the slightly damp grass and you remain absorbed contemplating the stars. Drowsiness invades you. Your eyes close.
A dim light wakes you up. Several hours have passed. The sun looms behind the mountains. You wake up and stand up. You remain in a contemplative state. Night and dawn contain infinite mysteries, and you know it. And you want to discover them. And you are discovering them.
heaven on your computer
It’s not quite as romantic, not quite as natural, and not quite as beautiful, but Stellarium , an open source application, shows you a realistic sky in 3D, just as you would see it with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope.
It will allow you to contemplate more than 600,000 stars, illustrations of the constellations, images of nebulae, the Milky Way, the atmosphere with sunrise and sunset, planets and satellites. All this with an interface that incorporates a powerful zoom, which allows time control, with visualization of equatorial and azimuthal reticles, with blinking stars, with shooting stars, with eclipse simulation… It is not the same as a night lying in the field but why not enjoy it? You dare?
If we analyze the features that adorn this application, these are the most outstanding:
- It offers a default catalog of more than 600,000 stars. There are also extra catalogs with more than 177 million stars.
- Constellations are shown for more than 20 different cultures.
- The program’s management interface offers everything you need to examine the sky.
- On the visualization you can examine shooting stars, comet tails, Iridium flash simulations, as well as eclipse simulations and supernovae and novae.
- And a few more options…
If you want to know in detail the project that supports the program, take a tour of the website that hosts it. You will find, in addition to a complete summary, some forums where you can answer your questions, sign up for a mailing list, the latest news, as well as a wiki and a FAQ, among other sections. Enjoy the fish eye that the planetarium provides you. Adapt the program to your needs and tastes, personalizing it.
To get the right application for your operating system, you must go to Stellarium . There are versions for Windows, macOS, and Linux. The program supports several languages, including Spanish. Just a few days ago a new version of the application has been released.