sexta-feira, 2 de outubro de 2009

Celestia 3D Space Simulation Software For Linux / Windows / OS X

Celestia is a real-time visual space simulation astronomy program. It is a cross platform, open source software and released under the GNU General Public License. NASA and ESA have used Celestia in their educational and for interfacing to trajectory analysis software. It allows users to travel through an extensive universe, modeled after reality, at any speed, in any direction and at any time in history. Celestia displays and interacts with objects ranging in scale from artificial satellites to entire galaxies in three dimensions using OpenGL. It is a perfect software for astronomer, educator, student, and teacher for astronomy purpose.


  1. Celestia displays the Hipparcos Catalogue (HIP) of almost 120,000 stars.
  2. Solar and lunar eclipse finder.
  3. Display the orbital paths of planets (including extrasolar planets), dwarf planets, moons, asteroids, comets, artificial satellites, and spacecraft.
  4. Celestia users can travel/fly through the Celestia universe using simple keyboard controls, at any speed from 0.001m/s to millions of light years/s
    Controls allow users to orbit stars, planets, moons and other space objects, track space objects such as spacecraft, asteroids and comets as they fly by, or travel to and/or fly through nebula and irregular, elliptical and spiral galaxies (over 10,000 galaxies included).
  5. Celestia displays such features as detailed atmospheres on planets and moons, planet shine on orbiting satellites, sunsets and sunrises, moving clouds, planetary rings, eclipse and ring shadows etc.
  6. Graphic screen-shots and movies can be captured in classic or HD resolutions (up to 1920x1080) on Windows and Linux platforms.


You need to install the following packages:

  1. celestia - A real-time visual space simulation
  2. celestia-common - Datafiles for Celestia, a real-time visual space simulation
  3. celestia-glut - A real-time visual space simulation (GLUT frontend)
  4. celestia-gnome - A real-time visual space simulation (GNOME frontend)
  5. celestia-kde - A real-time visual space simulation (KDE frontend)

Install Celestia Under Debian / Ubuntu Linux

Type the following commands:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install celestia-gnome celestia

How do I start Celestia?

Type the following command at a console (terminal):
$ celestia-gnome &
Alternatively, you can start Celestia in the following ways:

  • Applications menu
  • Choose Education > Celestia
Fig.01: Celestia displaying earth

Fig.01: Celestia displaying earth

Celestia Mouse, Keyboard and Joystick Controls

Celestia allows you to zoom in / out and rotate various objects from star to spacecraft using a mouse. It has "point and goto" interface which allows you to navigate through our universe.

Mouse Controls Description
Left Drag Camera orientation--Up/Down/Left/Right (also Up & Down arrow key)
Shift+Left Dbl Click on an object Deselect and Center selected object
Left Click on no object Deselect currently selected object
Right Click on an object Display object context menu if it has one
Scroll Wheel or Ctrl+Left Drag or Ctrl+Left Drag Left+Right Drag up/down Distance to selection adjust. (Home/End)

To see complet list press CTRL+H.

How do I view demo?

To view the demo click on Help menu > Demo.

Further readings:

(Image credit: Wikipedia)

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