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Oct 9, 2009

Review of Stellarium

Stellarium is a free and open source software developed by Fabien Chereau and is available for download in Windows, Linux and Mac. It is an educational software which provides detailed view of night sky and heavenly bodies and is popular among children, students and stargazers alike.

1.Setup file size: 41.9 MB
2.Installation file size: 61.7 MB
3.Version: 0.10.2
4.Author: Fabien Chereau
6.Build date: 2009-03-10
7.Other similar software: Celestia, Starry Nights, Kstar
8.OS compatibility: Windows, Linux, Mac

The user interface of Stellarium is average with tricky menu system which is confusing for first time users. The transparent menu is hard to find and do not have a exit button leaving only choice of ALT+F4. Finding one's location and setting the time is easy and view menu gives you option to change the numbers of stars, change the projection and the landscape which includes even moon and mars. There are options to get constellation art and marks, search planets and stars. Help menu is provided which gives you information on everything related to Stellarium.

Stellarium uses OpenGL to render the real-time night-sky and produce heavenly bodies that are not visible by naked eyes. It has a catalog of over 600,000 stars from Hipparcos Catalog and over 210 million stars catalog from other source. It renders realistic images of stars and even galaxies and nebulae. Zoom feature is really helpful and also is projections like fish-eye. The real power of Stellarium are the scripts and add-ons. With over 10 GB of add-ons user have plenty of choices for customization. User can also view stars and planets from extra-Earth locations like moon and mars.

Plus Points:
1. Bloat-free and runs well on almost all PCs.
2. Lots of add-ons and scripts.
3. Well rendered real time sky
4. Large catalog of stars, planets and other heavenly bodies.
5. Can display view from extra-earth locations like moon.

Minuses :
1. Tricky menu system
2. No exit button
3. Not powerful in scientific research field

Stellarium is a good educational software with lots of features. Rendering ability of Stellarium is commendable. With little customizations and tweaking it works well for stargazers and student but is not attractive for researchers. Some attention should be given on creating good menu system and interface so as to attract other users. In overall it is a good educational software which is updated regularly and provides latest news and information about night sky and the whole universe.

1 comment:

  1. Stellarium sounds really fun to use as I am interested in outer space too. But does it need a internet connection to look at the space? Tell me this in class ok saurav.