Posted in Software
Back when I was a kid counting stars was one of the best things to do at night if we put aside sleeping of course. When I saw some kid that knew to name more stars than I did I usually tricked him by coming up with some names of my own. Sometimes it worked sometimes I was the one getting owned but even now I like to check the stars in the sky. What I would really like to do is name a star but since there aren't any stars without a name that one can spot without some giant telescope from the future... I guess that playing with Stellarium should do just fine!
While Stellarium only reached version 0.10.2 recently it was over three years ago when I saw it for the first time. I can't remember the version number that was carried by it back then but I can surely recall the fact that it was like a breath of fresh air playing with it. Now Stellarium remains the same free open source planetarium for Windows Linux and even Mac OS X but with a default catalogue of over 600000 stars and extra ones with no less than 210 million (!!!).
Once you install it and fire it up Stellarium feels like home - all you need to do is enter the coordinates of your location (you can also search for the name of your town of course) and enjoy the view of the sky without going out... and with extra-powerful zoom capabilities!
Additional features of the program include fisheye projection for planetarium domes and even spheric mirror projection for your own home low-cost dome with extensive keyboard shortcuts support telescope control and a wide range of visualisation options like eclipse simulation equatorial and azimuthal grids skinnable landscapes and many more.
In the end all you need is a decent computer and since Stellarium is completely free to download and use... your only excuse for keeping the distance is that you really hate astronomy and consider that watching the starry sky is a thing for emo kids and dreamers. Anyway no matter what you may think everyone should be a dreamer from time to time... so why not name a star with Stellarium? ;)
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