The Carina Nebula

11 Recommended Open Source Multi-Platform Astronomy Software



Are you interested in the night sky? If the answer is yes, Stellarium is a must have. It transforms your computer into a planetarium showing a realistic sky in 3D. Its catalogue includes over 600,000 stars, with extra catalogues with more than 210 million stars available. It includes images of nebulae, the Milky Way, planets and their satellites and much more. Astronomers will be in heaven.

Features include:


  • Default catalogue of over 600,000 stars from the Hipparcos Catalogue and the Tycho-2 Catalogue
  • Extra catalogues with more than 210 million stars
  • Illustrations of the constellations
  • Constellations for ten different cultures
  • Images of nebulae (full Messier catalogue)
  • Realistic Milky Way
  • Realistic atmosphere, sunrise and sunset
  • The planets and their satellites


  • A powerful zoom
  • Time control
  • Multilingual interface
  • Scripting to record and play your own shows
  • Fisheye projection for planetarium domes
  • Spheric mirror projection for your own dome
  • Graphical interface and extensive keyboard control
  • Telescope control for GoTo operations


  • Equatorial and azimuthal grid
  • Star twinkling
  • Shooting stars
  • Eclipse simulation
  • Skinnable landscapes, now with spheric panorama projection


  • Add your own deep sky objects, landscapes, constellation images, scripts…

Stellarium is written in C++.

Stellarium is actively maintained for all 3 platforms. A graphics card capable of rendering OpenGL 3.1 is required. This software is fairly CPU intensive, so to get high framerates you need a fast processor, but any reasonably recent PC should run the software well.

Developer: Alexander Wolf, Georg Zotti, Marcos Cardinot, Guillaume Chéreau, Bogdan Marinov, Timothy Reaves, Florian Schaukowitsch
License: GNU General Public License v2
Written in: C++

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