Stellarium (software)

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Stellarium Splash.png
Stellarium 0.12.0 running on Ubuntu Linux
Stellarium 0.12.0 running on Ubuntu Linux
Original author(s)Fabien Chéreau
Developer(s)Alexander Wolf
Georg Zotti
Marcos Cardinot
Guillaume Chéreau
Bogdan Marinov
Timothy Reaves
Florian Schaukowitsch
Initial release2001
Stable release
0.19.0[1] / 24 March 2019
(28 days ago)
Repository Edit this at Wikidata
Written inC++ (Qt)
Operating systemBSD, Linux, Windows, macOS
PlatformPC, Mobile
Size147 MB (Linux tarball)
161 MB (Windows installer)
164 MB (macOS package)
TypeEducational software
LicenseGNU GPLv2[2]

Stellarium is an open-source free-software planetarium, licensed under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 2, available for Linux, Windows, and macOS. A port Stellarium called Stellarium Mobile is available for Android, iOS, and Symbian as a paid version, being developed by Noctua Software. All versions use OpenGL to render a realistic projection of the night sky in real time.[citation needed]

Stellarium was created by the French programmer Fabien Chéreau, who launched the project in the summer of 2001 (18 years ago) (2001). Currently, Stellarium is being maintained and developed by Alexander Wolf, Georg Zotti, Marcos Cardinot, Guillaume Chéreau, Bogdan Marinov, Timothy Reaves, Ferdinand Majerech, and Jörg Müller. A number of other developers have contributed to the development of Stellarium, especially Robert Spearman, Johannes Gajdosik, Matthew Gates, Nigel Kerr, and Johan Meuris, the latter of whom is responsible for the artwork.[citation needed]

Stellarium was featured on SourceForge in May 2006 as Project of the Month.[3]


In 2006, Stellarium 0.7.1 won a gold award in the Education category of the Les Trophées du Libre free software competition.[4]

A modified version of Stellarium has been used by the MeerKAT project as a virtual sky display showing where the antennae of the radiotelescope are pointed.[5]

In December 2011, Stellarium was added as one of the "featured applications" in the Ubuntu Software Center.[6]


In terms of sky features, over 600,000 stars from the Hipparcos Catalogue and the Tycho-2 Catalogue are accessible, as well as more than 210 million stars from additional catalogues.[citation needed]

Stellarium also provides asterisms and illustrations of constellations from ten cultures, images of nebulae (full Messier catalogue), and many realistic representations. The Milky Way, atmosphere, sunrise, planets of the solar system, and their major moons are all represented in the application. Users can also display stars and other celestial objects as seen from reference points other than the Earth (e.g., Saturn, Phobos, comet C/2006 P1 (McNaught), or any other object defined in the "system.ini" file).[citation needed]

Stellarium's multi-lingual interface features zoom, time control, in-built scripting to record and playback shows, fisheye projection for planetarium domes, spheric mirror projection for personal domes, telescope control, equatorial and azimuthal grids, twinkling and shooting stars, simulated eclipses, landscapes, and other deep sky objects.[citation needed]

Planetarium dome projection[edit]

The fisheye and spherical mirror distortion features allow Stellarium to be projected onto domes. Spherical mirror distortion is used in projection systems that use a digital video projector and a first surface convex spherical mirror to project images onto a dome. Such systems are generally cheaper than traditional planetarium projectors and fish-eye lens projectors and for that reason are used in budget and home planetarium setups where projection quality is less important.[citation needed]

Various companies which build and sell digital planetarium systems use Stellarium, such as e-Planetarium.[7]

Digitalis Education Solutions, which helped develop Stellarium, created a fork called Nightshade which was specifically tailored to planetarium use.[8][9]


VirGO is a Stellarium plugin, a visual browser for the European Southern Observatory (ESO) Science Archive Facility which allows astronomers to browse professional astronomical data. It is no longer supported or maintained; the last version was 1.4.5, dated 15 January 2010.[10]

Stellarium Mobile[edit]

Stellarium Mobile is a fork of Stellarium, developed by some of the Stellarium team members. It currently targets mobile devices running Symbian, Maemo, Android, and iOS. Some of the mobile optimisations have been integrated into the mainline Stellarium product.[11]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Stellarium v0.19.0 has been released!". 24 March 2019. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Project of the Month - May 2006 - Stellarium". SourceForge. May 2006. Retrieved 2008-09-25.
  4. ^ "The third Free Software Awards placed under the sign of the international". Les Trophées du Libre 2006 website. Archived from the original on 2008-12-21. Retrieved 2009-02-16.
  5. ^ "Virtual sky display in MeerKAT control room". Archived from the original on 2012-04-23. Retrieved 2012-06-16.
  6. ^ "Software Centre app picks for December". Ubuntu App Developer. 2011-12-14. Archived from the original on 2012-06-26. Retrieved 2012-06-16.
  7. ^ "Stellarium Planetarium Software". E-Planetarium website. Archived from the original on 2008-12-01. Retrieved 2009-02-15.
  8. ^ "Nightshade Astronomy Simulation Software". Digitalis Education Solutions official website. Retrieved 2010-01-11.
  9. ^ "Nightshade Astronomy Simulator". Nightshade official website. Retrieved 2010-01-11.
  10. ^ "VirGO, The Visual Archive Browser". ESO Science Archive Facility. Retrieved 2012-11-21.
  11. ^ "Stellarium Mobile". Noctua Software. Retrieved 2014-03-14.

External links[edit]