Stellarium is awesome!
A few years back, I downloaded a program called Stellarium. It didn’t run well on my PC at the time (I was still stuck on a P4 single core), so I did not get to use it much. Earlier this year I rediscovered this great program after getting my new dual-core XPS M1730.
And wow! This program rocks! If you have any interest in astronomy, even just a teeny-tiny inkling, then this is one program that you need to download. It is so easy to use, yet so flexible and powerful! And did I mention that it was FREE! (p.s. I love open source software).
The night sky is rendered in such fabulous detail. From the motions and paths of the planets and stars, to the constellations and the artistic drawings that represent them, to the user interface itself, Stellarium is a top-notch desktop astronomy package.
The program comes in Windows, Mac, and Linux flavors. The Windows package is about 43 MB, so it will take a minute or two to arrive on your PC. And don’t be alarmed by being redirected to the SourceForge download page. This is a well-known and respected repository for a number of open source packages. After downloading the package, just run the EXE to get the install started.
And after installing, download the User’s Guide PDF file (also available on the main Stellarium page). It will help you set up your location and you will be well on your way to exploring the night sky.
Here are a few other links to help you find your way around the program:
Here are some of my favorite aspects of Stellarium: