Stellarium gives you a clear view of night time sky by using OpenGL as its basis. The idea of developing the planetarium software had popped up into the mind of Fabien Chereau who had launched the application in 2001. It is open source software therefore many other developers have added functionalities and made its interface more attractive. Due to colorful and interactive user interface, the average size of software is almost 138 MB. It is being used in some projects too for displaying virtual night sky.
Stellarium shows the graphics in high quality so it is necessary to use it on systems with advanced CPU and 3D accelerated graphics card. It can support computers with BSD, Linux, Windows and Mac Operating Systems on 32 bit and 64 bit PCs. You need to have minimum 512 MB RAM and 1.5 GB free on system hard disk.
Stellarium displays the original occurrence of around 600,000 stars from Hipparcos and Tycho-2 default catalogues and 210 million stars from extra catalogues. It also displays 3D rendered images of various constellations, nebulae and Milky Way. It shows the realistic images of sunset, sunrise, solar systems, planets and their moons. The time of the software will automatically be adjusted to your time zone and it will display the sky according to current time but you are allowed to change its time manually.
It has high quality interface with zooming option available to get better view of sky. You can select the language while installation or through its settings to easily understand the controls of software. Mostly it is used with keyboard shortcuts but mouse and other pointing devices can also be used. For planetarium domes it provides fisheye projection, while spherical mirror projection is available for personal domes. It shows the views of sky in the way that ancient scientists used to see it.
Stellarium displays the real time sky view. The twinkling of stars, shooting stars, equatorial and azimuthal grids, landscapes and panoramic projections make you feel like you are looking at the real sky with telescopes. All the objects in the sky are displayed by keeping Earth as reference point but you can use other known objects as your sky view reference points. While viewing the sky you can record the videos and then play them later for analyzing the astronomical objects.
It is an open source tool that you can download for free. It is available with GNU free license type. It supports a large number of languages. Currently its version 0.16 is available in the digital market that was released in June 2017 by the developers.
Stellarium is very suitable for educational purpose and is also being used in astronomical projects. It lets you know about the presence of various stars and shows their position along with names. It is an award winning tool in the field of top educational software. It displays the objects according to their original locations. The display of the sky is in 3D mode so it is better to use the software on computers with high specifications for getting a smooth astronomical experience.
Homepage – http://www.stellarium.org