The night sky is filled with constellations and numerous celestial bodies, so you will never get bored while using a telescope. Unfortunately, you can't see everything from a single location and it is more than obvious that you have to wait for night fall if you wish to look at the stars. With Stellarium you can admire the entire night sky, from any location in the world, without any limitations. You can think of the software as your personal desktop planetarium. It can highlight and label constellations, show passing satellites, distant nebulas and much more.
The application is free and open source. It is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux platforms and it can be installed in just a few seconds. The hardware requirements are modest. If you have at least 256 MB of RAM and a video card with OpenGL 1.2 support, you can run the application without any problems.
Stellarium allows you to pan and zoom on a panorama, which is displayed in full screen mode. Depending on your local time, it may be day time, in the virtual scenery, with a clear blue sky or it may be night. Obviously, you can't see any stars during the day, but you may click an option, in the lower region of the interface, to disable the atmosphere.
With the atmosphere disabled, you will see all stars on the sky. Additionally, you may click various options to show constellation lines, labels and show artworks over the constellations themselves. The best part is that Stellarium allows you to switch between different sky cultures. If you wish to see how the ancient Egyptians, Aztecs, Chinese, Arabs, Norse or other cultures viewed the stars and constellations, you can select one of these cultures on a tabbed menu.
In addition, the application can show planets, nebulas, artificial satellites and more. You can select anything, from stars to distant galaxies. With the Ocular View option, you can focus on selected objects, as if you were looking through a telescope.
You can hide the ground if you wish to see all celestial bodies and enable an equatorial or azimuthal grid and show cardinal points, so you won't get lost in space. Alternatively, you can go to a different location on the globe. After selecting the appropriate option, on the left edge of the interface, you can click a location on a map, select a country or insert coordinates. Selecting a different planet is another possibility.
The software can show constellations, as viewed by different cultures. You can see any celestial body, from any location on Earth or from other planets. The application comes with many interesting features. It is absolutely free, cross platform and it can be installed in a matter of seconds.
There are no drawbacks to speak of. Stellarium gives you the possibility of exploring the night sky, from any location, on Earth or other planets.
Stellarium Editor’s Review Rating
Stellarium has been reviewed by Frederick Barton on 25 Jun 2013. Based on the user interface, features and complexity, Findmysoft has rated Stellarium 5 out of 5 stars, naming it Essential