Stellarium Brings the Planetarium to Your Computer

August 14, 2011

12:00 pm

Every once in a while, I run across an app or platform that is totally original.   This past week, I read about Stellarium, which basically brings the planetarium right to your computer.

The free, open source program (for Windows, Macs, and Linux) lets you do truly amazing things as you stargaze on your computer.  You can view constellations, find planets and satellites, or play around with the time and location so you can see how the stars were aligned when you were born, got married, or just for later tonight – all of this in 3D!

It’s like looking at the sky with your eyes, binoculars, or telescope, but better. When you click on a star, planet, or satellite, you get info on its distance from Earth and magnitude.

It is so good that it is actually used by planetariums.  
How good?  It uses the Hipparcos catalogue of more than 120,000 stars.

When nothing is on TV, which is most of the time, ignore Facebook and check out Stellarium instead.

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Monika Jansen is a writer and editor who is happiest pounding out blog posts, newsletters, website content, and other materials. Follow her at: @monikacjansen

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