The Carina Nebula

11 Recommended Open Source Multi-Platform Astronomy Software



KStars is a desktop planetarium for KDE depicting an accurate graphical simulation of the night sky, from any location on Earth, at any date and time.  The display includes 130,000 stars, 13,000 deep-sky objects, all 8 planets, the Sun and Moon, and thousands of comets and asteroids.  It includes tools for astronomical calculations and can control telescopes and cameras.

The powerful observation planner in KStars will help you plan your observing session, put objects in observation order, and cache DSS images for offline comparison with only a few clicks.

Features include:

  • Ships with a catalogue of stars up to about magnitude 8. You can download additional star catalogues (Tycho-2 and USNO NOMAD) to show up to 100 million stars down to about magnitude 16
  • Guide lines such as the celestial equator, the horizon and the ecliptic
  • Control telescopes, cameras, motorized focusers, filter wheels, CCD and CMOS cameras using the elegant and powerful INDI protocol
    • Supports several popular telescopes including Meade’s LX200 family and Celestron GPS
  • Interface to a number of tools with which you can learn more about astronomy and the night sky:
    • Astrocalculator tool provides direct access to many of the algorithms the program uses behind the scenes, including coordinate converters and time calculators
    • AAVSO Lightcurve Generator tool will download a lightcurve for any of the 6,000+ variable stars monitored by the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)
    • Plan an observing session using our Altitude vs. Time tool, which will plot curves representing the Altitude as a function of time for any group of objects
    • Ekos, KStars’ astrophotography suite, provides a complete astrophotography workflow within KStars. Ekos helps with polar alignment, focusing, auto-guiding, and capture
    • What’s Up Tonight? tool that summarizes the objects that you will be able to see from your location on any given night
    • Solar System Viewer, which shows the current configuration of the major planets in our solar system
    • Jupiter Moons Tool which shows the positions of Jupiter’s Galilean moons as a function of time
  • Context-sensitive popup menu
  • Supports the OAL XML schema for observation log
  • Add-on Installer
    • Steinicke NGC/IC Catalogue – more complete NGC/IC catalogue
    • Abell Plenetary Nebulae Catalogue
    • Sharpless HII region catalogue – diffuse nebulae
    • Hickson Compact Groups – consists of 99 compact groups of galaxies
    • Lynds Catalogue of Dark Nebulae – consists of 1,802 nebulae
    • Tycho-2 Star Catalogue – stars from magnitude 8.0 to 12.5
    • USNO MONAD Catalogue (Part) – about 100 million starts (magnitude 12.5-16.5)
    • Inline thumbnail images
    • Images displayed in the details window

KStars has lots of unique features which set it apart from other software. We particularly like the supernova alerts, auto-suggest sky objects, and its awesome astrophotography suite, Ekos.

Read more about Ekos here.

Developer: The KStars Team
License: GNU General Public License v2
Written in: C++

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