A good collection of free programs for observing the Earth and the Universe. Addressed to astronomers, amateurs or curious fascinated by nature, the universe , planets , stars or even artificial satellites. Hopefully you like this selection of tools.
Unlike most planetarium software, Celestia does not confine you to the surface of the Earth. You can travel throughout the solar system, to any of over 100,000 stars, or even beyond the galaxy. All travel in Celestia is seamless; the exponential zoom feature lets you explore space across a huge range of scales, from galaxy clusters down to spacecraft only a few meters across. A 'point-and-goto' interface makes it simple to navigate through the universe to the object you want to visit. Many add-ons and vastly improved textures of high resolution are available for Celestia.
Stellarium is a free open source planetarium for your computer. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope. It is being used in planetarium projectors. Just set your coordinates and go.
Google Earth is a desktop application for Mac, PC, or Linux computers that allows you to navigate planet Earth from multiple views. Google Earth combines satellite photos and maps with a search engine to allow you search to find directions and specific addresses or general locations and services.
SkyViewer is an OpenGL-based program to display HEALPix-based sky maps from FITS format files. The program will display sky maps on a 3D sphere or a 2D Mollweide projection. Real time panning and zooming are supported, as are rotations of the 3D sphere (if you have a fast graphics card). The program was developed and tested in a Red Hat Linux environment, but it should also build under Windows and Max OSX.
KStars provides an accurate graphical simulation of the night sky, from any location on Earth, at any date and time. The display includes up to 100 million stars, 13,000 deep-sky objects,all 8 planets, the Sun and Moon, and thousands of comets, asteroids, supernovae, and satellites. For students and teachers, it supports adjustable simulation speeds in order to view phenomena that happen over long timescales, the KStars Astrocalculator to predict conjunctions, and many common astronomical calculations.
PreviSat is a satellite tracking software for observing purposes. Very easy to use, it shows positions of artificial satellites in real-time or manual mode. PreviSat is able to make predictions of their passes and also predictions of Iridium flares. PreviSat implements the SGP4 model (revised in 2006) which uses the TLE orbital elements in order to calculate the geocentric position of artificial satellites. PreviSat shows satellites in a world map view or in a sky map view and is able to calculate all passes of satellites for any location in the world. It also calculates flares produced by satellites of the Iridium constellation.
Virtual Moon Atlas Pro
Virtual Moon Atlas Pro, used by more than 750 000 persons all over the world. Used in several books, magazines, observatories, universities, Web sites and blogs. Used in Chandrayaan 1 lunar mission preparation. Recommanded by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the french Ministry of National Education.
Hope you enjoyed with this collection of free programs. You can find more here.
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