Astronomy · Open source

Stellarium – A Virtual Open Source Planetarium


Stellarium is a Open Source Software which can simulate the view of astronomical objects present in the sky. In short it one can see details of objects in the sky from your computer.  It is a great tool to start astronomy.


Details of the objects in the sky

  • Catalogue of over 600,000 stars with full list Messier objects
  • Extra catalogues (Additionally installable) with more than 210 million stars
  • Asterisms and illustrations of the constellations
  • Constellations for 15 different cultures
  • Images of nebulae
  • Realistic representation of  Milky Way
  • Planets of the Solar system and their satellites

Visual features of Stellarium include

  • Labels of Planets, Constellations and Nebulae
  • constellation lines and constellation art
  • Images of nebulae from Messier catalogue
  • Illustrated view of Sky from various locations on Earth
  • Different Planets of the solar system and their natural satellites
  • Display of Astronomical objects from different points other than Earth
  • Display of Equatorial and azimuthal grids
  • Other Sky objects and Landscapes can be added
  • Includes stars from the Hipparcos Catalogue and the Tycho-2 Catalogue
  • Includes stars from other extra catalogues

Feature of the Stellarium interface include

  • Zoom Control
  • Time control
  • Multilingual support
  • Full Screen view
  • Fisheye projection
  • Spherical mirror projection
  • Keyboard and Mouse control

Customization features include

  • There are a variety of plugins that can be added to stellarium like
    • Angle measure
    • Compass marks
    • Ocular View
    • Satellite hints
    • Move telescope to a set of coordinates
  • Ability to add new solar system objects from online resources…
  • Ability to add own deep sky objects, landscapes, constellation images, scripts…


The minimum requirements for installing stellarium

  • Operating System: Linux, Windows, Mac OS X
  • 3D Graphics Card with proper driver that supports OpenGL
  • Minimum 256 MB RAM

On Linux

On Centos, Fedora and RedHat

Stellarium can be found in the repository and can be installed using the following command as root

# yum install stellarium

Ubuntu, Debian and Linux Mint

Stellarium can be found in the repository and can be installed using the following command

$ sudo apt-get install Stellarium

Other Linux distributions

The source can be downloaded from the page

Mac OS

Download the package file from the link


Download the package file from the link


Main Configuration Window

Stellarium Configuration window



Stellarium  should be initially configured to work with  a particular location. Press f4 (or hover the mouse to the left side of the screen to pop out the side bar and click the top most icon) to display the location configuration window.

  1. Type the name of the city in the search. It will be displayed on top. Select it
  2. If accuracy is needed latitude and longitude can be selected
  3. Change the altitude accordingly
  4. Check “Use as default” if this is your default location
  5. The view from other planets can also be selected from “Planets” dropdown

Screenshot from 2013-07-10 14:57:32


The icon below displays Date and Time you want to navigate to. Change values so that Stellarium displays the sky ask per the entered values. If you want Stellarium to display the current sky, do not change any values here.






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