Google Earth, Google Maps and similar tools have made it possible to explore the world from the comfort of your desk, and Stellarium enables you to do very much the same with the night sky. With a built in catalogue of over 600,000 stars and the option to download catalogues for an additional 210 million stars, the program offers a great way to learn about planets, stars and constellations.

Stellarium provides a realtime view of what the sky looks like from different parts of the globe. Time can be fast forwarded so you can track the movement of stars and other objects across the sky and a powerful zoom options is available to mimic telescope based stargazing.

A plugin system is available and this can be used to add extra features to the program such as telescope configuration, the ability to add your own landscapes and much more.

Stellarium is a genuinely impressive program which makes it possible to learn about the sky in an interactive and entertaining way. The program looks wonderful and simple controls coupled with a growing wealth of information to work through means that this is an application you will return to again and again.

Stellarium 0.15.1.1 changes include:

- The Digital Sky Survey (DSS) can be shown (requires online connection).
- AstroCalc is now available from the main menu and gives interesting new computational insight.
- Stellarium can act as Spout sender (important for multimedia environments; Windows only).
In addition, a lot of bugs have been fixed.
- wait() and waitFor() in the Scripting Engine no longer inhibits performance of moves.
- DE430/431 DeltaT may be OK now. We still want to test a bit more, though.
- ArchaeoLines also offers two arbitrary declination lines.
- Added support of time zones dependent by location.
- Added new skyculture: Sardinian.
- Added updates and improvements in catalogs.
- Added improvements in the GUI.
- Added cross identification data for stars from Bright Star Catalogue, 5th Revised Ed. (Hoffleit+, 1991)

Verdict

Like Google Earth for the skies, Stellarium transforms your computer into a planetarium