Stellarium Desktop Planetarium Software Makes Astronomy Accessible to AnyoneNew version of free open source desktop planetarium software released.
Paris, France and Bremerton, WA September 11, 2005 -- Stellarium version 0.7.0, an open source desktop planetarium program, has just been released. Stellarium is freely downloadable software which renders realistic skies in real time with openGL. It is available for Linux/Unix, Windows, and Mac OSX (version 0.7.0 for OSX is not yet released, but 0.6.2 is available).
Realism is one of the great strengths of Stellarium. With Stellarium you really see what you can see with your eyes, binoculars, or a small telescope. Stellarium is a great resource for educators, parents, amateur sky gazers, or anyone wanting a better understanding of the night sky. The interface is simple and intuitive, which makes it easy even for children to operate.
Stellarium renders over 100,000 stars from the Hipparcos catalog, as well as in-situ images of most of the Messier deep sky objects. Basic features include time control, viewing positions anywhere on Earth, photo-realistic landscapes, basic coordinate grids and lines, labels for all objects, an object search function, planet orbits and trails, precession of the equinoxes, and constellation line drawings and art.
Special features include the beautiful contemporary constellation art by Johan Meuris, realistic atmosphere rendering, meteor showers, eclipses, and the ability to view the whole sky at once in a 180 degree fisheye projection. Constellation drawings for other cultures now include Chinese, Polynesian, and Egyptian. A major new feature with this release is a scripting capability, which allows Stellarium to perform complex tasks easily or even to play back complete prerecorded lessons.
Stellarium can be downloaded from: http://stellarium.sourceforge.net
About Stellarium: Stellarium was created by Fabien Chereau of France. Development continues under his leadership with contributions from many volunteers. Digitalis Education Solutions, Inc. sponsored development of the fisheye projection mode and continues to contribute enhancements to Stellarium such as the new scripting feature. Stellarium is used in the Digitarium Alpha portable digital planetarium projector from Digitalis.
About Digitalis Education Solutions, Inc.: Digitalis Education Solutions, Inc. was founded in January, 2003 to provide an affordable and full-featured planetarium projector for portable and small fixed domes. Digitalis' mission is to create capable and affordable tools for astronomy education. Karrie Berglund, Director of Education, spent over six years teaching for Pacific Science Center's Science On Wheels outreach program and also supervised PSC's Smith Planetarium.
[Our Zeiss starball] projector itself was great but we could not find any 'good' new shows for this format (slides). I told my boss it was like having a perfectly running car that required leaded gas to run. It works fine but no fuel available... Thankfully our entire group decided... to move into the digital age.
— Jim Duke, Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, AR